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What Are Secondary Containment Coatings?

Within an industrial facility, the system of containing leaks and spills from any chemical storage tanks or vessels is called “secondary containment”. The main goal of having a backup – or secondary – system is to properly isolate potentially dangerous chemical or petroleum spills until they can be cleaned up and correctly disposed of or processed.

Florock Elastomer 6500 bridges concrete cracks in this secondary containment installation.

Florock Elastomer 6500 bridges concrete cracks in this secondary containment installation.

 

Proper design, construction and upkeep of a secondary containment structure can be critical to a facility’s operation in a number of ways, not least of which is to achieve compliance with local and federal regulations, such as those issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The increasing liability of facilities that utilize, store or transport chemicals is a result of stricter regulation combined with greater public scrutiny and concern for environmental and human health. It behooves every operation to implement all available precautions to help minimize/ prevent accidentally discharging hazardous materials into the surrounding ecosystem.

Many secondary containment structures are comprised of formed concrete, such as a curb or berm, built to surround the primary holding tanks or vessels. Because concrete is typically unsuitable as a stand-alone barrier against high concentration chemicals, acids and caustics, covering the concrete with the appropriate high-performance coating is essential. Lacking this proper protection, leaking hazardous and/or corrosive substances can attack and damage the secondary containment concrete, and eventually leach through the slab to contaminate adjacent soil, groundwater and waterways.

Prior to topcoat application, the embedded fiberglass scrim is visible in this FloroPoxy Novolac basecoat, by Florock UK.

Prior to topcoat application, the embedded fiberglass scrim is visible in this FloroPoxy Novolac basecoat, by Florock UK.

 

Protecting the concrete with a well selected, chemical resistant barrier coating can be a relatively economical way to prolong the usable life of secondary containment structures.

The various secondary containment coatings on the market are formulated to help safeguard concrete against damage from specific chemicals and reagents, based on myriad site and operational conditions. Issues such as surface cracks, corrosion, or other damage can be addressed and in many cases economically resolved. 

Acid resistant FloroPoxy Novolac basecoat, fiberglass scrim and Novolac grout coat, expertly installed by Florock UK of Great Britain.

Acid resistant FloroPoxy Novolac basecoat, fiberglass scrim and Novolac grout coat, expertly installed by Florock UK of Great Britain.

 

Consultation with an experienced coating manufacturer can help facility managers reach informed, value-based decisions for each of their secondary containment sites. By choosing wisely, facilities can best protect their structural systems and employees, while simultaneously lowering the risk of a leak or spill, and the potentially costly consequences.

At Florock, we offer a range of high performance, chemical, acid and alkali resistant coatings to help defend the integrity and long term functionality of your secondary containment structure. Our network of local and regional professionals is available to help assess your specific needs and make recommendations to suit your requirements and budget.

 

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When planning a new secondary containment system or refurbishment of an existing coating, we urge you to contact our team for professional guidance on how to best protect your facility’s critical structures over the long term.