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EP-Hazardous Waste Management
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Secondary Containment

The purpose of secondary containment is to prevent releases of chemicals to the environment and reduce contamination of soil and groundwater. Secondary containment requirements provide temporary containment of accidental spills or leaks until appropriate response actions are taken by the owner/operator.

Benefits of secondary containment

  • Cost efficiency: spill cleanup without secondary containment is more costly.
  • Simplified cleanup: secondary containment keeps spilled material to a confined area (the containment).
  • Decreased liability - less potential for environmental damage or injury to health and safety of personnel.

What is adequate containment?

Secondary containment is anything that will contain a waste, if the primary container fails. It does not have to be anything fancy; it can be as simple as a tote, a bucket, a drip pan, or a zip lock bag.

At a minimum, the containment must be big enough to hold 110% of the contents of the primary container. For example, the secondary containment for a 5-gallon drum should be at least 5 X 1.10 =5.5 gallons in volume.

If your waste is stored outdoors, the potential exists for rain and debris to collect in the containment. Be sure to keep the containment clean and free of debris.
Examples of secondary containment types
Portable secondary containment platforms come in various configurations and sizes.

This single drum containment can be
easily moved with a forklift.

Chemical buildings are great for areas that store larger quantities of waste.

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Tote used for smaller items
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Zip lock bags are often used to contain contaminated rags or wipes.

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Permanent containment for a fixed item



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