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Generator Spill Containment Berm Solutions

Generators provide the necessary power for equipment and are commonly known to leak or spill oil and fuel liquids. Fuel and oil spills can cause groundwater to be contaminated resulting in heavy fines – Basic Concepts generator berms help protect against spills and leaks.

generator containment

During a generator leak, spill berms provide necessary spill containment processes helping comply with SPCC and EPA regulations. The MilBerm™ by Basic Concepts helps contain hazardous materials and is compatible with all hydrocarbons and a wide range of chemicals. MilBerms are available in custom sizes to meet specific spill containment needs.

The durable design of the Milberm offers drive-through spill berm use with reinforced corners. The unit deploys quickly with no assembly required and has a single-piece construction for quick setup.

The Milberm is designed specifically to meet or exceed EPA state and federal regulations for secondary spill containment, including the SPCC requirements for spill containment found in 40 CFR part 112 of the Clean Water Act.

MilBerms are available in custom sizes for specific generator spill containment needs.

Suggested berm size for various MQ, Cummins and Kohler diesel generators

Utilizing Milberms for Secondary Containment.

A berm is considered secondary containment, which can be defined as “a safeguard measure used to prevent accidental releases or spills of toxic or hazardous substances to the environment (water, soil, and air),” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WDOT). 

“Secondary containment can be a structure that is chemically compatible to hold a release and remain liquid-tight until clean-up occurs,” says the WDOT. 

In the case of generators, secondary containment works to keep fuel, oil, and other potential hazards from escaping into the environment by trapping it with PVC-coated fabric (or similar materials). Secondary containers like the MilBerm Lite are designed to be portable, folding down to store or transport. This makes them easy to deploy on-site as a preventative measure for spills when refilling generators or other tanks. 

Because they are designed for smaller containment needs, these secondary containment berms take up less space than other berms and are ideal for capturing leaks from overfill spills from fuel tanks and refueling operations, like those that can happen with generators. And, with a seamless one-piece design, the MilBerm Lite sets up fast and easy. It’s a simple way to keep spills from becoming a major hazard. 

What Happens If I Don’t Use a Berm? 

Without secondary containment, spills and leaks can quickly become dangerous to workers, the public, and the environment. 

Even though we use gasoline and diesel in our everyday lives, they are still considered hazardous materials. The New Jersey Department of Health lists gasoline as a hazardous substance, noting that it can burn skin and eyes and cause lung irritation, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. 

Chronic exposure to petroleum products may affect the nervous system, blood, and kidneys, according to the New York Attorney General’s Office

The environment can also be damaged by leaking oil, gas, or diesel. According to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, diesel spills can contaminate groundwater if they are not properly cleaned up. 

“Contaminated soil needs to be removed because contaminants can leach to groundwater or spread to surface water if there is rain,” according to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Although the EPA doesn’t consider generators and gen-sets “oil-filled operational equipment,” it is prudent to use berms to protect worksites from spills.  According to the EPA, although generators consume oil in order to make electricity, the fuel they use “is not inherent to the device and is stored in a bulk storage container, which requires transfers of oil.” 

This technicality means that, although they use gas, gen-sets are not considered for regulation by the EPA. Although gen-sets include oil-filled operational equipment, oil-filled operational equipment is not subject to the same regulations as bulk storage containers. The EPA says that violators are subject to a potential civil penalty of up to $47,357 per day of violation.

Still, there is a great benefit to workers and the environment to prevent spills and to be able to clean up accidents quickly and safely. 

How Does a Berm Work to Prevent Generator Spills?

While gas-powered generators are convenient on job sites, they can also be a safety or environmental hazard if their fuel leaks or spills. By using a berm during refueling or generator storage, you can capture dripping fuel before it becomes a larger health or environmental issue. 

Just like any other fuel, leaking gas from a generator is flammable. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists fires from improperly refueling a generator as a major cause of workplace injuries and fatalities for workers. 

In some cases, human error may not be to blame for leaking gas, diesel, or oil from generators. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, faulty parts can lead to generator leaks, which in turn can cause hazards on a job site. 

By using a berm when refilling a gas generator, you can help ensure flammable gasoline is trapped safely before it comes into contact with a spark or other ignition source. And, when properly cleaned, these berms can be reused over and over to capture overfill spills from fuel tanks. You can also use the MilBerm for hydraulic leaks and breaks, damaged saddle tanks, and leaky batteries. 

Be prepared for gasoline overfill spills, overflowing fuel tanks, and other kinds of refueling mishaps by regularly using small berms at refill sites. The lightweight materials and simple fold-down design make it easy to use the MilBerm Lite, consistently giving you and your workers peace of mind that they’re keeping themselves and the environment safe.