Unintentional chemical release into groundwater, waterways, and the air, happens all too often. These potentially dangerous incidents have attracted an increased level of public attention in the last 25 years, and the advent of social media and cameras help to keep them in the spotlight.
We used to hear only about the bigger incidents which resulted in death or environmental damage to the drinking water supply, or massive catastrophes for wildlife, like the time that the Exxon Valdez ran into Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef in 1989. Today, we hear about and witness more of such incidents — and even on a smaller scale.
Recent legislation and regulations have increased the responsibility of the chemical transporters and users and transporters, particularly since they are required to make every effort to reduce and stop the accidental release of harmful substances into the air. The protection of human life, as well as the environment, should be a primary issue for every plant engineer, owner of a facility or operator, as well as maintenance staff.
Human error, gasket leaks, connections, and seals that fail, but with the right design and a thorough plan for these instances, toxic releases can be reduced.
Secondary Containment Systems
The proper design, construction, as well as maintenance of an effective secondary containment system within an industrial facility, is essential in preventing spills and leaks that originate from primary storage vessels or tanks. The primary function of the secondary structure is to stop an incident until the liquid is cleaned up, neutralized, and properly disposed of. The secondary containment structure has to be constructed with a high level of chemical resistance to lower levels than in primary systems.
In particular, in older facilities, the majority of containment structures were constructed from formed concrete. containment structures were constructed of constructed concrete because of the cost of material and the ease of application. Concrete isn’t an ideal material for creating a strong chemical resistance as well as a durable barrier to the permeation of the majority of acidic as well as chemical concentrations. Permeation into concrete can cause significant cracking and degradation, which allows the caustic or acidic substance to be released and infect the environment.
Protecting the concrete by applying a chemical resistive coating or lining is, therefore, able to be an efficient option to protect the concrete structures. Before the lining or coating is applied to the concrete is evaluated to determine its state. The contractor also needs to determine the surface prep, crack filling, chemical resistance, and other challenges that must be dealt with in order to ensure a perfect bond and a long-lasting completed product. It is likely that when the secondary pit is present for a period of time there will be settling and stress cracks are likely to have formed. They require repair using a mortar that is compatible before the lining or coating is applied.
ArmorThane has several pure and hybrid Polyurea and Polyurethane products for spraying secondary containment pits, containment booms or building containment berms. These products cure to form a leak-proof membrane that holds any type of liquid spills. It has the flexibility to prevent cracking with weather and ground shift.
Creating a leak-proof membrane is critical for secondary containment and oil containment. Just when needed most, aging systems can fail due to freeze-thaw, intense dry heat, ground shift, and other environmental factors. Fortunately, ArmorThane has a number of protective coatings that create a long-lasting chemical and waterproof barrier. Spraying over a geotextile material and other containment berms and pits is both effective and relatively inexpensive. The coating seals around all cracks and crevices including penetrations. If equipment is moved, removed, or added, the containment can be securely patched if needed.
Back-up systems typically involve hazardous materials such as chemicals, fuels, wastewater, crude oil and other corrosive liquids. Our polyurethane and polyurea coatings are employed to prevent corrosion, rust, and surface degradation that can cause secondary containment and oil containment systems to fail. Reactants and corrosive materials sit harmlessly against ArmorThane’s polymers without harming the surface. Maintenance and liability costs can be significantly reduced.
In addition to corrosion and rust, ArmorThane coatings are not harmed by constant exposure to direct sunlight. They expand and contract without cracking in extreme weather.
Unlike pre-formed liners, sprayed-on coatings are thinner and take up smaller area. They form a seamless membrane that exactly fits the shape, even where poles, pumps, and other inner or outer structures attach.
Rubber Liner And Paint Problems
Rubber lining, paint and other surface protection simply do not last as long as polymers such as polyurethane and polyurea. They can also release and absorb materials causing contamination. And, they do not have the same abrasion and corrosion resistance as polyurethane or polyurea. Rubber and paint contain weaknesses that chemically-aggressive fluids will discover and exploit.
Key Coating Products For Secondary Containment
ArmorThane Secondary Containment coatings are involved with all types of containment systems that may be sealed or in the open air with surfaces of metal, plastic, concrete or geotextile materials. The goal is to stop leaks and spills from harming people, surrounding areas, and groundwater. Here are products typically used:
EnviroThane – modified polyureaelastomers
HighLine 310 – polyureas: sets as quickly as 2 seconds;
HighLine 510 – pure polyurea: excellent corrosion resistance;
Armor HiChem – polyurea: most comprehensive chemical and corrosion resistance
SureGrip – soft polyurea: greatest elongation properties
Please Don’t be Lax
With the advancements in material technologies and application methods, the speed of application is now increasing while reducing overall costs. Any industrial facility that holds large quantities of acids and caustics and is secured through secondary containment will need a corrosion-resistant material to ensure the security and protection of its assets.
Don’t let your insufficient protection lead to new incidents or spills. Contact ArmorThane to find out more about their line of secondary containment coating products.