On January 9, 2014, a tank rupture spilled 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM into the Elk River — just upstream from West Virginia American Water's regional intake — triggering a state of emergency and leaving 300,000 Charleston, WV residents without water.
Even though the chemical company responsible for the spill had violated West Virginia environmental laws, federal regulations only require secondary containment for hazardous waste, hazardous materials and oil — but not chemicals like MCHM.
So why use containment if there’s no regulation? The answer is simple: secondary containment is also a Best Management Practice (BMP) that keeps our environment and communities safe.
Secondary containment is anything that will contain or hold back liquid in the event of a leak or spill. Containment can be used for something as small as a pail or as large as a tank. And it doesn’t have to be permanent — like a concrete berm — it can also be semi-permanent like a Build-A-Berm Barrier or portable like a spill containment pallet or Collapse-A-Tainer.