Pictured above is a construction site on the side of a brick building wrapped in protective plastic covering. On the left side of the building, there are two large areas with freshly laid concrete, surrounded by workers in neon shirts, yellow caution tape, tools and dirt.

Secondary containment systems are crucial in safeguarding the environment from the potential hazards of spills or leaks from primary storage containers. Concrete is a popular and reliable choice for these systems due to its inherent advantages, such as strength, durability and cost-effectiveness. The following sections will explore the benefits, applications and key considerations for utilizing concrete in secondary containment systems.


An Overview of Secondary Containment Systems

Secondary containment systems play a significant role in safeguarding the environment. These systems act as a final line of defense, capturing and containing any leaks or spills that might escape from primary storage containers. This prevents harmful substances like chemicals, fuels or waste materials from contaminating the surrounding environment. 

Concrete is a popular and reliable choice for secondary containment, but other options exist, including high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners, steel and fiberglass.

Concrete stands out due to its unique combination of:

  • Exceptional Durability and Longevity: Withstanding harsh conditions and various chemicals, concrete offers a long lifespan, requiring less frequent replacements.
  • Superior Strength and Load Capacity: Concrete’s ability to handle heavy loads and resist impacts makes it suitable for containing large volumes of heavy equipment.
  • Cost-effectiveness in the Long Run: While initial installation costs might be higher, concrete’s durability and lower maintenance needs often lead to significant cost savings over time.

Understanding the advantages of concrete and how it compares to other options is vital for choosing the most suitable material for a specific secondary containment application.


Advantages of Concrete for Secondary Containment

When it comes to choosing the right material for secondary containment, concrete emerges as a compelling option due to its inherent advantages.

Concrete offers several advantages for secondary containment applications:

  • Exceptional Durability and Strength: Concrete secondary containment pads can withstand harsh weather conditions, wear and tear and exposure to various chemicals. They offer a longer lifespan and superior strength compared to many alternatives, making them suitable for demanding environments.
  • Inherent Fire Resistance: Concrete containment pads retain their structural integrity at high temperatures, providing an additional layer of protection in case of accidental fires. This can be crucial for preventing larger accidents and ensuring safety.
  • Long-term Cost Savings: While initial installation costs might be higher, concrete’s durability and lower maintenance requirements lead to significant cost savings over time. This makes concrete a compelling choice for long-term value and lasting performance.

Concrete offers a reliable solution for various secondary containment needs with its durability, strength, fire resistance and cost-effectiveness.


Applications for Concrete Secondary Containment Solutions

The versatility of concrete shines through in its diverse applications for secondary containment solutions. Its inherent properties make it suitable for various materials, ensuring safety and environmental protection across various industries.

Chemical Storage

Due to its exceptional durability and chemical resistance, concrete offers a safe environment for storing various chemicals.

These include:

  • Acids and Bases: Concrete’s ability to withstand the corrosive nature of these chemicals makes it a suitable choice for secondary containment.
  • Solvents and Flammable Liquids: Concrete’s non-combustible nature provides an additional layer of safety in case of accidental fires.


However, ensuring compatibility between the specific chemicals and the concrete mix used in the secondary containment system is crucial. Consulting with qualified professionals is essential to selecting the appropriate concrete type for optimal performance and safety.

Fuel Storage

In the realm of fuel storage, concrete plays an important role. Above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) often incorporate concrete secondary containment solutions to capture any potential leaks or spills of fuels like gasoline, diesel or heating oil. Concrete strength and fire resistance provide a robust secondary layer of protection, minimizing the risk of environmental damage and fire hazards.

Industrial & Waste Management

Beyond chemical and fuel storage, concrete is a valuable asset in industrial settings. Its ability to handle heavy loads and resist harsh environments makes it ideal for:

  • Containing Waste Materials: From industrial processes to construction sites, concrete secondary containment systems effectively manage and contain various waste materials, preventing them from contaminating the surrounding environment.
  • Capturing Coolant Fluids: In manufacturing facilities, concrete systems can capture coolant fluids used in production processes, ensuring proper disposal and preventing leaks that could harm the environment.

Concrete is important in safeguarding the environment across various applications by offering a robust and reliable secondary containment solution.


Key Considerations for Utilizing Concrete Systems  

A construction worker is wearing a hard hat, a red handkerchief, a dirty neon yellow shirt and gloves while smoothing concrete.

While concrete offers numerous advantages, utilizing it effectively requires careful planning:

  • Expert Design and Engineering: Involving qualified professionals is crucial for safe and compliant systems. They assess specific needs, loads and regulations.
  • Construction and Installation Costs: Complexities and costs exist due to skilled labor, specialized equipment and project factors. Consulting professionals during planning helps optimize costs.
  • Regular Maintenance and Inspections: Regular inspections and prompt repairs of cracks, leaks or deterioration are essential for maintaining system functionality and preventing potential issues.

By considering these key points and working with qualified professionals, you can ensure that concrete secondary containment systems offer a safe, reliable and long-lasting solution for your specific needs.


Your Trusted Partner in Industrial Construction: SW Funk Industrial Contractors

SW Funk Industrial Contractors has built a strong reputation for exceeding expectations in the industrial sector for over 40 years — our core values of safety, quality, and reliability guide every project.

We differentiate ourselves by offering a unique service combination: both concrete and steel expertise. SW Funk Industrial Contractors simplifies your project by offering comprehensive industrial services under one roof, saving you time and hassle and allowing you to manage everything seamlessly with a single trusted partner.

Our concrete expertise includes:

  • Complex Installations and Repairs: We handle even the most challenging projects, from large foundations to intricate anchor bolt layouts.
  • Active Facility Specialists: We minimize disruption to your operations, ensuring safe and efficient project completion.
  • Quality and Accuracy Commitment: We utilize the latest technologies to deliver projects that meet the highest standards.

Looking for a reliable and experienced industrial contractor? Contact SW Funk Industrial Contractors today! We’re confident we can exceed your expectations and deliver a project completed on time, on budget and to the highest quality standards.