Transformers are used in a variety of industries to facilitate the transfer of power from a source to the point of consumption. Perhaps more than in any other industry, transformers are widely employed in the electric utility industry to disperse and transfer electricity in large-scale power grids. Transformers are also considered oil-filled equipment since they utilize oil to insulate and cool internal components. 

Because transformers are considered oil-filled machinery, facilities that use transformers may be subject to secondary containment and SPCC requirements. Secondary containment requirements are intended to prevent oil or oil-derived liquids from entering navigable waterways and having a deleterious impact on the environment. Transformer oil containment solutions from Basic Concepts can help your facility safely contain transformer leaks and spills and achieve regulatory compliance.

Over 10,000 substations worldwide use secondary containment equipment from Basic Concepts to safeguard their facilities. To help you find the transformer oil containment products that are right for your electric utility facility, here is an overview of the SPCC requirements for facilities that use or store oil and a look at the transformer oil containment options available from Basic Concepts.

SPCC Requirements for Transformers

Any facility that stores and uses large amounts of oil or oil-related products may be subject to SPCC regulations. An SPCC plan details action steps that a facility has taken to prevent contaminants from reaching navigable waterways. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the SPCC regulations apply to facilities that:

Store, transfer or use oil. Facilities that store, transfer or use oil or oil-related products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, mineral oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat.

Store large quantities of oil. Facilities that store more than 1,320 gallons in above-ground containers—counting only containers that store 55 gallons or more—or 42,000 gallons in completely buried containers. 

Could contaminate waterways. Facilities that store oil or oil-related products that could reasonably be expected to discharge into navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines, such as lakes, rivers and streams.

What Size Transformer Oil Containment is Right for You?

Determining the appropriate size for your transformer oil containment system depends on a variety of factors. A basic guideline is to create a containment area around a transformer that is able to contain the oil contents of the transformer. Once the volume of a unit’s oil contents has been calculated, the containment area should then be expanded by 10% to allow for the accumulation of precipitation or snow.

Calculating the total volume of a transformer is an important secondary containment factor, but there are other variables to consider as well. The number of transformers on your site, the general topography of your facility and physical encumbrances such as fences or buildings should be taken into account before implementing a transformer oil containment system. To help you calculate the exact dimensions of your transformer oil containment area, refer to this helpful guide.

Transformer Oil Containment Options from Basic Concepts

Barrier Boom Secondary Oil Containment. The Barrier Boom system from Basic Concepts is a secondary containment system that is designed to trap oil and other contaminants but to allow the unimpeded flow of rainfall or snowmelt. The Barrier Boom is constructed of a non-woven geotextile fabric that is filled with oil-solidifying polymers. The oil solidifiers used in the Barrier Boom system are capable of trapping half a gallon of oil per square foot of fabric.

The Barrier Boom system is also UV and Oxidation resistant for long-term performance. This system requires little maintenance and is ideal for providing reliable secondary containment for transformers in the electric utility industry.

Geomembrane Liner with Barrier Boom. For site-specific oil containment solutions, the Geomembrane Liner system is specifically engineered to filter hydrocarbons in sandy or undetermined subsoils. When combined with Barrier Boom panels, the Geomembrane Liner is able to provide reliable passive hydrocarbon filtration that is ideal for transformers, wind farms and solar fields.

Geomembrane Liner from Basic Concepts is easy to install and will not drop or leach out over time. Because it is a passive containment system, Geomembrane Line will provide secondary containment for transformers without the need for maintenance or upkeep. The Geomembrane Liner system also eliminates the need for concrete walls, sump walls or oil separators.

Find the Transformer Oil Containment System that is Right for You

For more than 25 years, Basic Concepts has led the industry in innovative spill containment solutions. Our secondary containment products are used in industrial facilities, commercial operations and military installations all over the world. We can help your facility find the necessary equipment to meet regulatory compliance and keep personnel safe. Take a look at our selection of liners and booms and secondary containment solutions and find the transformer oil containment equipment that is right for you.



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Basic Concepts has the ability to customize our products for many of your specific applications. Whatever your requirements, our custom solution will be durable enough for the most stringent spill control requirements. We are committed to providing the best solution for your needs. We will be happy to customize this or any other spill berm to satisfy any of your size requirements and applications.

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