Spill Containment Maintenance
New EPA rules state that spill buckets must either be double walled with periodic monitoring or tested periodically to confirm the integrity and proper operation of the spill containment. Spill prevention is required for every underground storage tank that contains more than 25 gallons at one time. Proper maintenance and regular visual inspections will go a long way in keeping your spill buckets in compliance.
In years past, our UST inspections have revealed that over 30% of all sites are not in compliance with spill containment requirements. Many petroleum releases occur when fuel is delivered to a tank, so proper maintenance of your spill buckets is a major tool in preventing costly soil or groundwater contaminations. It is important to routinely inspect the spill basins at your facility, particularly right before and right after a delivery, as well as after it rains or after snow melts. A good transport driver will check for the following items before beginning the delivery:
- Is there enough room in the tank for this delivery?
- Is the spill bucket cleared of liquid and debris? If the transport were to disconnect, is there enough room in the spill containment to catch spilled product?
- Is the overfill prevention equipment operational?
- Will the transport be able to lock on tight to the fill pipe?
As an owner or operator, what steps can you take to keep your spill containment in tip-top shape? Routinely checking your spill basins for debris or liquid is crucial. Your spill bucket is not meant to hold liquid indefinitely. In fact, many manufactures specifically exclude ‘storage of product’ in their warranties. Many manufacturers equip spill buckets with either a pump or a drain to ease the liquid removal process. Spark free hand pumps are also available for purchase. Your service company likely has experience removing liquid, debris, or hazardous waste if the caught liquid contains fuel or chemicals.
Another key component to spill containment is replacing damaged or missing gaskets and seals. When not in proper condition or missing altogether, the spill bucket will not be liquid tight and can allow small amounts of product to release into the environment. Small leak overtime can turn into big cleanups. When not in use, the fill pipe must be properly capped. Water and debris can make its way into the tank if the cap is not sealed tight. Always check to make sure the gasket is in place and that the cap snaps down tight.
Your spill containment is not designed to last as long as the UST. Routinely inspecting the spill basins for corrosion, damage, or cracks will give you a good idea of how the component will degrade over time. Consult with your service company if you believe an integrity test is needed.