Spill Containment Berms Production: The Importance of Material Selection

Environmental Control, International StandardsApr 28, 2021
Spill Containment Berms

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Spills and accidents are an associated risk when you deal with hazardous liquids like chemicals, oils, and industrial waste. Pollution is already a global problem and such spills further increase its severity. That’s why it is the industry’s responsibility to ensure appropriate protection against soil and water pollution by having contingencies for spills. Spill containment berms are exactly that.  

What are spill containment berms?

Containment berms are an affordable and effective solution that prevents spills from polluting the soil and water in the nearby areas. They are commonly used in liquid storage facilities, trucks, oil containment units, and multiple other applications where there is a risk of leaking any hazardous liquids.

Composition of spill containment berms

There are no set industry standards for the type of materials you should use for spill containment berms. However, you must ensure that the composition you select is appropriate for your specific application. For example, if you are planning to use a secondary containment for fuel or oil-based chemicals, then cheaper PVC fabric would not be a viable choice as it breaks down when exposed to hydrocarbons.

Similarly, physical characteristics like thickness, strength, and coating are equally important. Any successful containment application requires both the correct material and design parameters. Failure in any aspect would give you inadequate protection and create issues down the line.  

Various material combinations are suitable for spill containment berms. However, the following four materials are most commonly used in the industry.

  1. Synthetic rubber
  2. PVC
  3. TPU & Ethylene / Vinyl acetate alloys
  4. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)

Requirement considerations per application 

Spill containment berms are used for both static and dynamic applications. Depending on their use, there are some factors you should consider before deploying them. For example, consider the difference in fabric requirements between the following applications: 

The first, prevention of oil leaks of off-shore rigs and oil tankers at sea where the given situation at sea often means intense waves and currents.  

The second, coastline protection containment of jellyfish, marine garbage and floating or submerged pollutants both on the surface and below water but it is in a more controlled environment and the substances needed to be contained are mostly in solid form. 

When it comes to oil leaks, the repercussions can be disastrous for the local ecosystem, so a fast and effective response is mandatory. Your manufacturer can help you select the best material and develop rapidly deployable solutions of varying thickness and specifications to ensure that you are ready. On-field application of spill containment berms.

Another solution to look at are fold-and-go berms that are commonly used for dynamic applications that need to be abrasion-resistant. Similarly, you must also consider the deployment area before deciding the material. For rocky terrain with a lot of sharp objects, it’s better to use ground mats for additional protection. 

EPA and OSHA guidelines about secondary containment

As discussed before, it is the company’s responsibility to ensure that there are appropriate contingencies to prevent any environmental damage in the case of spills. Neither OSHA nor EPA standards dictate how your secondary containment must look like. That’s why you’ll see a wide variety of material options and viable designs in the market. You only need to make sure that whatever measures you take are enough for the application. You are safe from any legal action or environmental damage liability as long as your secondary containment can hold the spill and keep the environmental damage to a minimum. 

Make the best choice with Erez

When it comes to deciding the material, design, and other specifications for your spill containment berms, Erez can be the best resource for you. We have been in the industry for multiple decades and can recommend the best course according to your application. Whether you need help with simple Graywater containment or the most harmful chemicals, Erez will have the best solution for you.  


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