As you know, dangerous goods are substances that can either harm people, property, other living organisms or the environment. They are either in gaseous, liquid, or solid forms. They include materials that are flammable, corrosive, explosive, oxidizing, allergenic, radioactive, biohazardous, toxic or asphyxiating. They also include physical conditions such as liquids or compressed gases and all other materials that may contain such substances that make them hazardous.
Due to this, measures have to be taken during their storage. Spill containment is one of these measures. Spillage cannot be ruled out during the storage of these goods and provisions must be made within the premises where these goods are been stored.
Spill containment eliminates the risk for any spill or leak of dangerous goods. These provisions also must be able to contain the dangerous goods that have been leaked or spilled or any other solid or liquid effluent arising from that incident.
What to do in case of spill
In an event that there is any spillage or leakage of dangerous goods:
• Take any immediate action to reduce any risk that is associated with the leak or spill as long as it is reasonably practicable.
• Ensure that the dangerous goods or any other resulting effluent are cleaned up and is disposed off or in other terms made safe.
This applies regardless of where the goods are stored. Whether it’s in a petrol station where the goods are stored underground or whether the goods are store above the ground as in the case of a warehouse, the same measures should apply in case of a spillage.
Designing spill containment
When designing a system for spill management you should ensure that:
• A way is left any rain water that accumulates in the area.
• Any risks associated with the system are identified and addressed as well.v
• There is provision for separate spill containment in cases where goods which are not compatible are to be kept in one storage area.
• Barriers, booms and absorbent materials to contain any spillage outside the areas where physical containment is provided.
• Contaminated fire water can be easily removed during a spillage or leakage incident.
• Materials used for absorption or construction are compatible with the dangerous goods and they and they are impervious to any corrosive effects of the goods.
• The compound has a capacity which is sufficient for the volume of liquid that is to be contained.
Equipment for spill containment
You should ensure that the equipment and materials that are involved in the process are appropriate to be used and can be accessed any time within the premises where the goods are stored.
The equipment varies depending on the quantities and types of the goods within the premises. They include: over packs which are for containing any containers that are leaking; absorbent materials which are suitable for material that is likely to leak; neutralizing agents such as soda ash or lime; suitable hoses and pumps to remove any spilled material; flexible sheeting, plates and booms to prevent spillage from drains and water ways and hand tools such as bins and mops.
Spill containment for substances
This can be achieved by:
• Grading the surfaces to ensure that any spills are contained by contours.
• Use of double walled containers
• Enclosing a tank with a full or a partial full- height bund.
• Making the area a compound by budding it.
Spill containment systems
This is the most frequent system that is designed to contain dangerous goods where they are stores. It can be retrofitted to outdoor installations and existing buildings. It is however not for stores which involve high-rise ranking as it may lead to instability equipment where the materials are loaded. If the buds are to be constructed outdoors they should have the capacity to deal with rain water and also have a system that is secure to remove the water.
2. Underground tanks
This is a common containment method and is used to avoid any risk that is associated with the access to bunded stores. However the underground tanks may introduce potential hazards as so this must be factored in and addressed.
It should be noted that each containment system should be exclusive for any effluent from one work area or store unless the dangerous goods are effective and compatible.
Importantly also, if the location and the design of the system affects the operations of emergency services, emergency services authorities should be consulted.
To sum up, spill containment, is something that anyone involved in dangerous goods storage should incorporate. It is always good to have the appropriate safety measures because safety can never be compromised. You should not wait for the dangerous goods to spill or leak for you to start finding a solution, so ensure that you have a spill containment system in place.