Secondary Containment Design Practices

by Charles R. Taylor, Jr., (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Over the past several decades the design approach to containment of spills has not been consistent resulting in release of hazardous substances into the environment. The increased discovery of environmental contamination from released substances due to inadequate containment designs has produced more interest in these designs from governmental regulators and corporate officers. However, no specific comprehensive environmental regulations presently address requirements for containment, while a potpourri of regulations have produced some fragmented standards. These imprecise regulations have left interpretation and implementation to individual design engineers resulting in inconsistent and sometimes poor design quality. Environmental liabilities have also become a serious concern. Many industries have been faced with costly liabilities for: surface and ground water clean-ups; soil remediation; regulatory fines; legal costs; property damages; and lost production. Additionally, industries may suffer damaged images from adverse publicity. Consistent engineering design standards for secondary containment are required. This document provides recommended design practices for secondary containment that meet environmental regulations, minimize potential safety and environmental liabilities while providing lowest cost to the owner.

Subject Headings: Laws and regulations | Hazardous substances | Liability | Industries | Surface properties | Soil properties | Benefit cost ratios | Waste sites

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