Commercial and industrial generators can produce ignitable, corrosive, reactive and/or toxic waste from spillage, harming people and the environment. For industrial plants and refineries, oil and gas services, environmental field services, construction, and equipment rental - using a generator spill containment system is a critical requirement for governmental compliance, employee safety, and corporate social responsibility. Fortunately, there is a variety of generator spill containment portable berm and long-term berm options that provide effective containment solutions at facilities.
Governmental Requirements Make Spill Containment a Necessity
Most industrial generators are powered with diesel fuel or gasoline. All generators are subject to fuel and oil spillage, in addition to the leakage of coolant, condensed water, and acids in the exhaust system. Though coolants (antifreeze) today are primarily made with water and ethylene glycol, every type of coolant is toxic to humans and animals.
Since industrial generators use fluids potentially harmful to the environment and humans, you must meet complex EPA regulations to protect the environment and detailed OSHA regulations to protect humans. The EPA regulations include the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC Rule), which covers oil discharges at non-transportation facilities.
OSHA has a variety of rules concerning worker protection and spill containment to prevent human exposure. The OSHA criteria for assessing hazardous substances include anticipated exposure that leads to toxicity, inhalation, ingestion, skin absorption, explosives, flammability, and reactivity with other substances and the environment.
More Than a Spill or Leak
Both diesel fuel and gasoline spills cause environmental problems, and they are the petroleum products most released into the environment. According to scientific research, diesel oil is difficult to deal with because it contains a large variety of compounds that have different chemical structures, a low evaporation rate, and slow degradation. Petroleum products are made of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons that are absorbed by the soil’s organic matter, have very low solubility in water, impede the air exchange in water, reduce water capacity in soil, change the microbial population, and release dangerous volatile organic compounds that negatively impact human health.
- Sometimes, fuel and oil spills because of human error, like overfilling the base tank or spilling fuel during refueling. Other reasons for spillage and leaks include but are not limited to:
- Float sticks and expels fuel out the sides which drips to the ground
- Improper maintenance leads to engine issues, like cracked fuel lines, loose hose connections, damaged gaskets, and blocked heater hoses
- Generator is old and worn engine parts leak
- Wet stacking (engine slobber) develops in which unburned fuel, oil, acids, and other liquids accumulate in the exhaust pipes and drip a dark, thick substance
Spills and Leaks are Expensive Propositions
Without a catch system, industrial generator spills and leaks can easily become harmful to workers and cause damage to the environment. It is also an expensive proposition for the business.
- Besides presenting an immediate danger to the health of employees, your business medical expenses increase.
- Any generator fluids reaching the ground must be cleaned up to prevent the hazardous fluids from reaching groundwater.
- Businesses will incur significant EPA fines for spillage and non-compliance, plus OSHA fines if your policies and procedures do not precisely meet all the government requirements.
- Too many spills can harm your corporate reputation for social responsibility which can lead to a loss of customers.
The EPA increases civil penalties annually to reflect inflation, with the last increase implemented after December 23, 2020. There are many ways the EPA can assess fines, too. You may be fined for polluting the water, air and/or earth, and fined for not meeting the requirements for policy development and improper management of hazardous substances. You should also note that the EPA places the burden of proof on the business. The bottom line is businesses are assessed tens of thousands of dollars in civil penalties.
Problem Easily Solved: Generator Spill Solutions
Erasmus wrote, “Prevention is better than cure.” Think of prevention when asking: What is a generator spill containment system? Preventing generator spills and leaks from ever reaching the soil and water is the cure for environmental contamination and human health risks.
It is the reason PacTec developed BermPac®, a line of berm solutions for spill containment for generators. They accommodate different generators, and other fuel-powered equipment, that are setup long-term on a jobsite or regularly moved to various jobsites. All berms have a flat base with sidewalls.
- Wire Bracket spill containment berm – economical berm and set up sidewalls with heavy gauge galvanized steel wire brackets; reusable, repairable, and easy to set up and take down for relocation
- Hinge bracket spill containment berm – single-piece berm with integrated, encased hinged brackets that fold up into an upright position; offers fast and easy setup and takedown for transport
- Pop-up spill containment berms – permanently attached, encased folding brackets; ideal for companies frequently moving their generator
- Foam sidewall spill containment berm – soft or hard foam sidewalls with a choice of removable foam sleeves or sealed foam; economically priced and suitable for situations in which businesses frequently move generators in and out of containment
- Hurdle-bracket spill containment berms – aluminum hurdle brackets that enable making a continuous rigid sidewall, so you do not need hose bridges for refueling; adds extra security to prevent spills or leaks from escaping; ideal for temporary projects requiring extra sturdy containment walls
- Collapsible spill tray – ideal for smaller generators, the collapsible spill containment tray for generator fuel and oil collection can be rolled up and strapped for storage; fits behind the seat of a pickup
The berm generator spill containment materials are UV, chemical and acid resistant, and berms come in various sizes and configurations to best fit your needs. You can also order a customized berm solution. With a spill containment for a generator, diesel and other fuels are collected without causing harm to the environment while minimizing risks to humans.
Real-World Solutions Speak Louder than Words
There are many benefits of using the berm spill containment option for generator spill containment.
- Savings - The cost of a berm is far less than the expense of EPA and OSHA fines. You also save the expense of fuel and oil spill remediation and project delays.
- Convenience - The portable berms are easily setup, taken down and transported. Larger stationary berms are easily setup and maintained.
- Employee safety - Berms are proof your management cares about its commitment to employee safety
- Efficient cleanup - Cleanup of spills and leaks is completed efficiently, reducing the time to ensure the job site is not contaminated.
- Environmental protection - Berms show a genuine commitment to protecting the environment, something customers often consider when selecting vendors.
- Business reputation protection - Berms put words into real-world solutions. One of the worst things a company can do is make claims about government compliance, worker safety, and environmental protection, but fail to take required steps to put words into action.
Contact PacTec for Generator Spill Containment Solutions
Generator spill containment is a business best practice. PacTec can help businesses of all sizes with spill containment. We have developed different categories of spill containment berms to fit a variety of needs and durable products that stand up to the rugged use they experience. Contact a sales representative in your U.S. region to determine the best spill containment option.