Concrete Coatings Articles

Secondary Containment Upgrade Heats Up!

Photos courtesy of EnviroTite Services
Vendor Team

Safety equipment manufacturer
3M Center
St. Paul, MN 55144
(888) 364-3577

EnviroTite Services, LLC
Coatings contractor
23 Ridge Rd.
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
(201) 919-1327

Graco Inc.
Equipment manufacturer
88 11th Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 623-6000

Leffler Energy
Coatings client
15 Mount Joy St.
Mount Joy, PA 17552
(800) 984-1411

Oak Ridge Foam & Coating Systems
Coatings manufacturer
575 Commercial Ave.
Green Lake WI 54941
(800) 625-9577

Concrete and polyurea seem to go hand in hand in the secondary containment world. This winning duo was no different at the Leffler Energy jobsite in Lancaster, Pa., when the containment that was supposed to be protecting the ground from accidental oil spills started showing signs of aging.

The client wanted to be proactive in maintaining the system, so they called in some experts to get an upgrade. “They’re a proactive company,” explained Richard Franklin of Oak Ridge Foam and Coatings, the coatings manufacturer on this project. “They’re not waiting for a problem; they’re ahead.” Therefore, Leffler Energy’s environmental person reached out to EnviroTite Services, LLC out of Hackettstown, N.J., to help them come up with an upgrade strategy that would meet the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Ready to Go
This was a quick and efficient project. It took a three-person crew from EnviroTite Services and three weekdays to complete the 3,500-square-foot (325.2 m²) recoat. Three was certainly a good number on this project!

The first step was to have the client prepare the site. EnviroTite Services Owner Dominick Desiderio asked Leffler to remove the old gravel from the bottom of the containment, dig down into the clay about six inches (15.2 cm) around the perimeter walls, and then let the coatings crew do its thing. “I told the owner to dig at the base of the wall…so that we could get our coating down below the clay liner on the floor,” Desiderio explained. With the area prepped, the crew then needed to get in and get the substrate ready.

The concrete block walls were in fair condition, but the existing coating that was on them was starting to peel and flake off.  “Moisture was getting into the walls through the top, which resulted in existing coating failure,” said Desiderio. If the containment wasn’t recoated, Leffler would be in danger of having some structural damage done to the walls.

This meant that the first day, the EnviroTite Services crew needed to remove all loose and flaking paint. They power washed the concrete containment using a rotary nozzle. While letting the concrete dry, they covered up the pipes and pumps with plastic sheets to protect them from overspray later in the process.

“That actually brought us in through the weekend, so we returned the following week to make repairs,” Desiderio explained. On Monday, they used hydraulic cement to patch any of the blown out or cracked parts of the concrete and to seal any pinholes. Finally, the crew was ready to get to the good stuff: the coatings!

Complete Containment
Wielding a Graco 690 sprayer with a #619 tip, the EnviroTite Services crew applied the primer at approximately 2–3 mils (50.8–76.2 microns). The OR811 primer from Oak Ridge is a single-component coating. After that, the crew applied the polyurea, which was OR80WPM (also from Oak Ridge). Wearing hard hats, 3M safety glasses and respirators, gloves, and protective clothing, the crew applied the polyurea at approximately 50–60 mils (1,270–1,524 microns) in two passes. And because the polyurea is a plural-component, 100 percent solids, zero volatile organic compound (VOC) material, they used a Graco Fusion CS gun to apply it up and over the walls. There, they created a termination edge about eight inches (20.3 cm) from the top of the concrete wall. This containment was going to keep things where they belonged.

One of the greatest advantages of using a polyurea coating is that it cures almost instantly. For an oil company, getting the equipment back on the line as quickly as possible is one of the most — if not the most — important aspects of choosing a solution. Because polyurea cures so quickly, it reduces downtime, as Franklin explained, something that was necessary to the client.

This project worked so quickly, in fact, that the crew finished spraying around 9 or 10 a.m. and the client was back in there within an hour of the polyurea application to start backfilling the walls with clay and gravel.

Staying Ahead 
The people at Leffler Energy sought out a solution, made it happen, and made it right. It took the right coatings crew, the right coatings, and the right setup to get everything up to date. The only unscheduled item of note was when Desiderio needed to talk to the electrician about moving some pipes on one wall. “He had to come out, disconnect it, and relocate a few pipes so we could get the coating behind the pipes properly,” Desiderio said. Everything else went as seamlessly as the system, and even working with the electrician wasn’t difficult. Franklin was also impressed with the client, including that he was pleased with the final setup. “We’ve been at oil tank fields that don’t even have a clay liner in them,” said Franklin. Now Leffler Energy has so much more than that bare minimum: They have a recoated secondary containment with one sizzling upgrade!


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