Industries that store or use fuel in large quantities must ensure that their fuel containment and loading areas comply with safety regulations such as the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This includes having a backup or secondary fuel containment system to ensure that any discharge from the primary system, such as a pipe or tank, will not escape the system, including onto the walls and floor, before a cleanup can be successfully implemented.
Containment systems made of concrete can crack and degrade due to aging, abrasion and exposure to harsh chemicals. Fortunately, spray coatings designed to bond to concrete surfaces can provide increased protection and durability.
Solution for Repairing Cracking Concrete
BCI’s SC-3900 fuel containment coatings help solve this problem. Highly chemical resistant and flexible, the SC-3900 lining system moves with the concrete to provide a seamless, long-lasting solution. For use on both steel and concrete, it bridges cracks and seal voids. Since it dries extremely fast for a quick application, weather or temperature fluctuations are not an issue. SC-3900 handles a wide range of chemicals and is approved for secondary fuel containment by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency.
SC-3900 Advantages for Fuel Containment
- Use to seal and restore aging truck loading racks
- Protects against incidental drips and spills while fueling
- Anti-skid option for increased slip resistance
- Can be used to seal large expansion joints and cracks
- 300% elongation with a 3900 PSI tensile strength
- High abrasion resistant
- Inert to freeze/thaw in northern climate zones
- Withstands daily traffic of 80,000-lb tankers – saves on costly concrete recapping
What Causes Concrete to Degrade?
Concrete is a heavy and durable building material, made of cement, water and aggregate, and often used in the construction of secondary containment systems and other construction applications. Despite its durability, concrete can degrade or deteriorate over time. Causes of degradation can include physical damage or extremes of temperature, such as fire damage or the cycle of freezing and thawing of water in moist concrete. Corrosion of metal components embedded in the concrete can contribute to degradation, as can exposure to bacteria, sea water, acid and other chemicals.
In addition, concrete can be more susceptible to cracking over time if it has been mixed or poured improperly or been allowed to dry too quickly.
Does Fuel Damage Concrete Over Time?
In cases of chemical spills or exposures, concrete is most vulnerable to attack from acidic and caustic substances. Chemicals such as gasoline, fuel oils and petroleum-based lubricating oils may cause less damage to mature concrete.
Nevertheless, research has found that concrete exposed to crude oil products can see a reduction in compressive strength over time. In addition, palm diesel, often used as a biofuel, has been found to cause concrete deterioration. Surface treatment of the concrete with epoxy or other chemically resistant materials can inhibit the deterioration.
If a facility’s fuel containment system fails or experiences incidental drips or spills, concrete that has been damaged or degraded by other means can allow fuel to contaminate the surrounding environment.
What Are the Spill Containment Requirements for Fuel Loading Areas and Racks?
Fuel loading areas are constructed to accommodate the transfer of fuels from tank trucks or railroad tank cars to storage tanks and other containers. These areas generally must be constructed with fuel loading/unloading racks, which can include such structures as platforms, gangways, loading/unloading arms and other equipment for the safe transfer of fuel at a facility.
Regulations frequently require fuel loading and storage areas to provide secondary containment, which can include concrete berms, retaining walls, retention ponds and gutters or other drainage systems.
In addition, regulations for loading areas may require secondary containment that can accommodate the maximum capacity of any compartment of the tank car or tank truck; be made of impermeable material; have signs or barriers to prevent premature vehicle movement that could cause a spill; and be maintained under conditions that will not interfere with the containment system.
What Are the Benefits of Industrial Spray Coatings for Concrete?
Applying a spray coating to concrete can make the concrete less porous and protect the concrete from chemical damage. Temporary spray coatings can be applied to the concrete to help retain moisture for its first week, but often require mechanical or chemical removal. Permanent seal coatings, when applied to wet concrete, form a more permanent film over the surface. They can offer protection from degradation caused by moisture and chemicals.
An effective spray coating will bond to concrete substrates, as well as asphalt and other substances.
When used in industrial applications, the most effective concrete sealants can seal and bridge hairline cracks and large moving joints for long-lasting protection. A rubber coating spray for concrete can also stop active leaks, deterioration and freeze thaw.
A coating or lining system can seal and restore aging loading racks and other fuel containment systems, and can also withstand heavy traffic and abrasions as well as seal joints, cracks and voids.