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Secondary Containment Costs: Concrete vs. SAFE-Tank


Secondary containment systems are recommended safeguards that can prevent costly damage to equipment and risk to employees in the event of a leak or failure of the primary storage vessel.

There are several secondary containment options with varying costs available to tank owners. Let’s compare a traditional permanent concrete structure to a sophisticated, integrated tank containment system. The cost analysis may surprise you.

Concrete Containment Structures: The Traditional Method

Concrete containment structures have been around for a while. Generally speaking, they consist of a poured concrete foundation that is combined with vertical concrete walls. These walls are usually reinforced with rebar. After the concrete is poured, its interior has to be coated with a substance that prevents spilled chemicals from eating away at the concrete. Neglecting to protect the walls can cause serious damage to the containment structure.

The Cost of Concrete Containment

Unfortunately there are several costs that are specifically involved with concrete containment structures. First, the cost of the concrete itself has to be accounted for. Building vertical walls of concrete is expensive, especially when it is reinforced with rebar. You also have to consider the cost of coating the concrete with an anti-corrosive material that will protect its integrity in the event of a spill.

If a chemical spill does happen, the chemicals that spill must be disposed of, since they will be contaminated by the dirt and debris that has built up in the containment area. Also, you will need to clean out the containment structure and then re-coat the concrete with the protective substance before you can using the tank again, since this coating only protects the concrete from spills one time.

An Integrated Secondary Containment Alternative

SAFE-TankThe SAFE-Tank is a double-wall tank built out of high-density cross-linked polyethylene: you can think of it as a “tank within a tank.” The two tanks are manufactured separately and slid together to create the SAFE-Tank system.

The SAFE-Tank system has a number of advantages over traditional methods of containing spills from chemical storage tanks.

The Benefits of the SAFE-Tank

Why invest in our SAFE-Tank system? There are several advantages:

  • The SAFE-Tank system keeps contaminants like dirt and leaves out of the containment area so that spilled chemicals are not compromised

  • The system also makes it safer to clean up spilled chemicals and repair tanks by protecting your employees and equipment around your storage tank
  • The SAFE-Tank meets the EPA and OSHA requirements of 110% secondary containment. Meeting this requirement is particularly important for storing chemicals like sulfuric acid, which can have an exothermic reaction to water

The SAFE-Tank system is also beneficial because it reduces the footprint of your containment system by taking up less space around the primary tank.

The Cost Benefits of the SAFE-Tank System

From a cost perspective, the SAFE-Tank system has several benefits. First, it is contained around the tank, which keeps external contaminants out. This means that unlike a traditional concrete containment structure, chemicals that are spilled in the SAFE-Tank system can eventually be reused once it equalizes. This is great for storing expensive pharmaceutical chemicals that are costly to replace.

Because the SAFE-Tank has a smaller footprint, it also takes up less space, which can be an important factor in cost savings. All together, the SAFE-Tank can cost up to 90% less than traditional concrete containment structures.

Learn more about preventing costly damage with secondary containment by downloading our complimentary eBook.

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Topics: Fittings and Accessories, Tank Design and Materials