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Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant Containment

Lubricants and petroleum chemicals must be contained when not in use. Secondary containment products from Basic Concepts offer compliant solutions for indoor or outdoor hazmat storage.

The world’s largest institutional consumer of oil is the U.S. military, which uses more than 100 million barrels of oil each year to fuel vehicles, aircraft, ships and other operations.

Military installations can need to store petroleum and lubricant in large quantities, while vehicles can require long-term use in rugged conditions, leaving them prey to oil leaks. Consequently, military facilities need approved petroleum containment solutions and systems to ensure environmental compliance and reduce hazardous chemical exposures.

Petroleum and Oil Containment Solutions

The EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements were introduced to protect waterways and the surrounding environment from oil or other chemical spills. These apply to facilities with total above-ground storage tank (AST) capacity of more than 1,320 gallons in containers of 55 gallons or larger, or total underground tank capacity of more than 42,000 gallons.

SPCC regulations include secondary containment requirements for potential petroleum leaks, spills and discharges. Examples of oil containment include facility construction features such as impervious berms or retaining walls, gutters, retention ponds or other drainage systems, as well as sorbent materials to recover liquids, barriers such as skim mats and collection systems such as sumps.

Bulk storage tanks and petroleum containers must also meet specific requirements that address the potential for major tank or container failures.

The EPA’s hazardous waste storage regulation 40 CFR 264.175 requires that secondary containment systems be impervious, free of gaps or cracks and chemically compatible with the material being stored. The exterior of the petroleum containers, including tank supports and foundations, must receive regular visual inspections for signs of leaks, damage and deterioration.

The oil containment system must have either a sloped design or a means for quick removal of leaking or spilled material. It must have capacity to contain at least 10 percent of the total volume of the primary container or 100 percent of the volume of the largest container, whichever is larger. The system must either prevent precipitation such as rainwater or run-on from entering or have capacity to accommodate potential precipitation.

Material leaked or spilled into the secondary containment area must be removed as quickly as possible to avoid overflow and potential environmental contamination.

Choosing a Petroleum and Oil Containment Solution

Physical barriers provide several methods for petroleum and oil containment. Fuel tank containment dikes or berms can be walls or embankments made of earth or concrete for temporary or permanent use.

Military-approved oil spill containment berms can be used comparably to pools or basins placed under storage tanks or pallets loaded with drums. In the event of gas or oil spills or leaks, the berms keep the chemicals within a contained space for easy cleanup while complying with EPA and SPCC requirements.

Some portable, compact, light-weight berms have a flexible, one-piece design that allows them to be folded for easy storage and transportation. They can be quickly deployed in the event of fuel tank leaks or oil spills.

Durable spill berms are designed for both high chemical resistance as well as the ability to withstand wear and tear, such as for temporary oil containment of heavy-duty vehicles.

In addition, spill booms are floating barriers, often made of metal or plastic, designed to contain oil and prevent its spread. They can often be placed between the primary petroleum container and a nearby body of water.

Oil spill kits generally contain absorbent pads and mats, protective clothing, waste-handling bags and other items useful for cleaning up the spilled area.

Military spill kit requirements for maintenance facilities include universal absorbent pads, while the recommended spill kit inventory for field exercises includes synthetic polyethylene absorbent pads and biodegradable cotton absorbent pads. According to the requirements, during cleanup absorbent pads and rags must be placed in clear, durable trash bags for proper disposal.

A drip pad can capture small leaks before they contaminate the ground or create an unsafe work surface while ensuring environmental compliance. Many effective oil drip pads are designed from UV and chemical resistant, modified PVC. They can consist of oil-only sorbents within a leak-proof barrier, as opposed to pads designed to absorb water or other materials.

Weighted oil drip pads can serve as part of portable containment systems for equipment and machinery. Drip pads can be positioned and anchored under engines, leaky valves and other areas prone to leaks. Different sized drip pads can accommodate larger or smaller leaks.

BCI Military Spill Containment Products

Military-approved oil and petroleum containment products should be designed for heavy-duty protection against spills and other accidents, whether in the field or on base, and maintain compliance with environmental regulations. BCI offers an array of spill containment products for military applications.