The Four Do’s of Secondary Liquid Containment


Storing and transporting industrial liquids can be a messy job. You never spare effort on protecting your storage units from spills and leaks, but they still happen. There are only two things you need to handle a spill when it does occur: a good secondary system and the right plan to utilize it. In many cases, a portable secondary containment unit is going to provide the easiest, most efficient and most affordable solution. No matter the case, every secondary can benefit when you remember the four do’s.

 Scale Your Setup 

Obviously the secondary system needs to be big enough to handle the spill. Federal regulations require secondaries to be able to hold at least 10 percent of the total stored volume. Many state and local regulation expand upon this and mandate even greater secondary containment. For some systems that will force you to have a large permanent backup, and for others you might be able to get away with a portable (or multiple) unit. Regardless, surmising the volume of backup you need is always the first step to planning your secondary containment.

 Make Waste Removal Easy

 Waste removal is the primary motivation for secondary units. If your spill was allowed to soak into the ground, it could prove disastrous on multiple levels. There are many techniques that enable you to handle the spill waste, but the easiest is portable secondary units. Catch the waste while you seal the spill, and then you can simply cart away the backup. It reduces the amount of absorption and pumping you might otherwise need to do, and both of those techniques can get very costly very quickly.

 Use Gravity to Your Advantage

 The most important part of your secondary containment system is the planning. Obviously gravity will dictate the flow of the spill, so you always need to plan around it. This isn’t just for the sake of easily catching the spill in the backup. Primary systems cannot sit in their own spills for a variety of safety reasons, so you need to be sure that any spill has room to flow away from the main tank(s). From there, placing the portable secondary containment to catch the flowing spill is the easy part.

 Make the Most of Reusability

 If a spill can happen once, it can happen again. Good backup systems utilize reusable components. This is especially true with portable secondary containment units, and that reusability is one of the best cost-saving devices in your arsenal. Whether the secondary needs a simple replacement lining or can be easily cleaned and stored, reusable units are your best friend in planning for spills and leaks.


Andrew Williams

The author Andrew Williams