You’ve probably heard the words active and passive being tossed around when people are talking about their Spill Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) plans. Do you nod and smile knowingly while inside you feel like you’re not one of the cool kids? Then read on.
Active and passive containment are two ways to comply with SPCC general secondary containment requirements that deal with the most likely discharge from a container or piece of equipment. These spills are typically smaller and more easily contained than worst-case discharges.
Active containment means that someone has to take action to put the containment devices in place. The containment may be deployed before an activity begins or in reaction to a discharge, but it requires people.
Active containment measures include:
- Placing drain covers over storm drains before an oil transfer
- Placing drain covers over storm drains during spill response
- Using a spill kit in the event of an oil spill
- Using a spill response team in the event of an oil spill
- Closing a gate valve prior to an oil discharge
Just remember that when active containment measures are outlined in your SPCC plan, they must clearly specify the people who are available to deploy the solutions listed.
Passive containment is something you put into place to contain spills before they happen. These devices can control the situation all by themselves and don’t need you to be actively involved. You can create reliable permanent or semi-permanent containment for continuous protection — and you won’t have to babysit. This is especially advantageous if you have remote sites that are not routinely staffed.
Many passive containment systems also address SPCC’s specific regulation requiring containment for certain containers and oil-filled equipment to be capable of containing a worst-case scenario spill.
Passive containment devices can include:
So there you have it. Understanding active and passive containment and including these measures in your SPCC plan not only help you prepare to handle spills and prevent discharges into the environment — it makes you one of the cool kids.
You tell us: Do you rely more on active or passive containment in your facility? Let us know in the comments section below!