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Secondary Containment Systems & Floor Coatings

Managers often use the term “containment” when referring to either a primary or secondary containment system, even as the two are quite different. Primary containment refers to the vessel – the storage tank or container – in which a liquid substance is normally kept. The secondary containment system is the protected area surrounding the primary containment. Its purpose is to catch any leaks, overflow or spillage in the event of failure of the primary containment system.

The composition of the liquids being stored can be any variety of substances. Examples include solutions of dilute detergent, high concentration bulk chemicals, contaminated water or hazardous waste. In the event that a primary containment vessel is damaged in any way, the performance of secondary containment systems can be critical to the safety and well-being of all forms of life in the vicinity, as well as for the protection of the soil and groundwater surrounding a given facility.

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Regulations for Secondary Containment Systems

The regulations for secondary containment are spelled out in great detail in the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and RCRA (The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) documentation, and state and local codes also apply. However, there are some common guidelines that pertain to nearly all secondary containment systems:

  • They must be free of cracks and surface breaches, to prevent the migration of spills into groundwater, surface water or soil.
  • The capacity of the secondary container must be sufficient to hold at least 10% of the total volume of the primary container or 100% of the largest container, in order to mitigate the overflow.
  • If outdoors, unless the container has the capacity to handle volume in surplus to the previous requirement, it must be covered and rain-proof.
  • It must be sloped or otherwise designed so that any spilled liquid can be removed easily and as quickly as possible to prevent overflow.

Optimal Protection for Concrete Substrates in Secondary Containment Systems

For budgetary reasons and because it can be shaped and molded, concrete is often used to construct secondary containment systems. However, because concrete is a porous substance that can allow liquids to pass through it, concrete secondary containment systems require a coating that can resist degradation when exposed to the specific chemicals or liquids being stored, as well as for the length of time before typical clean-up would occur.

Novolac epoxy and vinyl ester resins are proven performers as secondary containment coatings. Depending on the specific chemistry, concentration and exposure time involved, these coatings offer excellent resistance to acids, alkalis, solvents, fuels and many other chemicals. They offer great durability, strength and flexibility of use and are simple and inexpensive to clean and maintain.


Florock’s Secondary Containment Systems

We are able to offer excellent secondary containment protection to a broad range of facilities with the following products:

  • FloroPoxy Novolac Epoxy can be ideal solution when used in a multi-coat application or as a topcoat over other Florock systems. It provides outstanding concrete protection in extreme pH secondary containment situations.
  • FloroEster Vinyl Ester Systems offer two topcoat options for customized protection:
    • U Primer, which seals and strengthens concrete and steel substrates and improves the adhesion of the upper coatings.
    • FloroEster VE Vinyl Ester Mid/Topcoat protects against a very broad range of acidic and caustic solutions and is available in Clear, Gray or Red. Silica sand or decorative colored quarts aggregate may be added.
    • FloroEster NVE Novolac Vinyl Ester Mid/Topcoat is similar to FloroEster VE Mid/Topcoat, yet offers a different range of protection for specific applications.

The Florock Advantage

Our many years of experience, combined with our high-performance products and network of approved installers help ensure a high-quality installation for your secondary containment systems.


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