Secondary Containment Regulations

Creating a Back Up System

The Secondary Containment Regultion Prevents Contamination from Spills & Leaks

secondary containment regulationsSecondary containment regulations are designed and issued to prevent hazardous liquids from discharging into the surrounding land and water if a leak or spill occurs. These regulations pertain to large capacity storage tanks (above or below ground) as well as drums and smaller containers. Essentially, secondary containment acts as a backup system, preventing release of contaminants from the primary container.

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What are the Secondary Containment Technical Requirements?

The EPA states:
“At a minimum, the secondary containment system must meet certain criteria designed to ensure that the waste will remain in the containment system until it is removed in a "timely" manner.

Specifically, the containment system must meet the following requirements:

  • The base must be free of cracks or gaps and must be sufficiently impervious to contain leaks, spills, and accumulated precipitation (§264.175(b)(1)).
  • The base must be sloped or the system must be designed so that liquids resulting from releases can drain and be removed. This is not necessary, however, if the container is elevated (e.g., on pallets) or otherwise protected from contacting accumulated liquids (§264.175(b)(2)).
  • The secondary containment system must have the capacity to contain at least 10 percent of the volume of the containers or 100 percent of the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater. If containers hold no free liquids, they do not have to be considered in this calculation (§264.175(b)(3)).
  • Stormwater run-on must be prevented from entering the system unless the collection system has sufficient capacity to contain any run-on entering the system in addition to the capacity requirements (§264.175(b)(4)).
  • Any waste that has spilled or leaked into the secondary containment area or any accumulated precipitation must be removed in as timely a manner as is necessary to prevent overflow (§264.175(b)(5)).”

Reference: US Environmental Protection Agency

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