Businesses and people use storage tanks for various reasons. Some use these tanks to store water, some for soil or grain, and others for hazardous chemicals or oil. These tanks have lots of functionality, but it’s important to keep spills at bay regardless of what they contain. Continue reading to learn the difference between primary and secondary containment when protecting your business from spills.

What Is Primary Containment?

Primary containment may sound like something in the tank that can keep your materials safe, but the tank is actually the primary containment vessel. This tank is the first barrier between the materials you’re storing and the outside world, and it prevents things from spilling or leaking. In many applications, all you need is the primary containment system. Most primary containment systems will only hold the following:

  • Waste
  • Water
  • Solids
  • Other liquids
  • Non-hazardous chemicals

If these substances get out of the containment system through a leak or spill, they’re not too disastrous for the space around them.

What Is Secondary Containment?

A primary containment system is a tank itself, and the secondary containment system is something more akin to a lining in the tank. The primary containment system can fail and develop cracks or leaks, and the secondary containment system will contain hazardous materials, ensuring they don’t spill. Secondary containment systems are useful for any storage tank because they can help protect the integrity of your materials and the tank itself. However, with that said, they’re especially necessary for storing hazardous chemicals. If there’s a breach and these chemicals get out, they endanger everything around the tank, including people, soil, and water nearby.

The Important Differences

The primary and secondary containment systems differ because they’re distinct lines of defense for fighting spills and leaks. An interesting thing to note about these forms of containment is that they can be passive or active. The primary containment system, the tank, is only passive since it doesn’t need active deployment—it just sits there and does its job. On the other hand, the secondary containment system can be active or passive. A passive form of secondary containment is a tank liner. An active form of secondary containment is kitty litter or oil-solidifying polymers that you can actively deploy to contain the spills.

Understanding the differences between primary and secondary containment is important for giving the materials you’re storing the proper containment they need. No one wants to spill something without the proper containment measures and create a major accident. Thankfully, that’s where Flexi-Liner has you covered. In addition to primary liners, we also have secondary containment liners that you can use to avoid the consequences that a dangerous spill might bring. Contact us today for all your containment needs!