Small Chemical Leaks & Spills Can Cause
BIG Problems for Oil & Gas Operations
* Across the U.S. and around the world, thousands of Oil & Gas well sites, pipelines, and chemical distribution facilities use Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST), Chemical Injection Systems (CIS), pumps/tubing, and Secondary Containment Systems (SCS).
Secondary containments play a vital, proactive role in the handling of leaks, spills, overfills, or overflows from their respective AST or CIS units. But, we’ve discovered that MANY companies continue to operate with uncovered and unprotected containment tanks.
Why is that such a BIG deal?
- After rainfall events, it’s costly to remove the contaminated wastewater.
- The mixture of chemicals and rainwater inside the containments (or overflows) can be hazardous to humans, birds, wildlife, water supplies, or the environment.
- Regulatory agencies can investigate incidents and assess HUGE fines.
High Costs of Wastewater Haul-offs
- Every time containment tank fluids rise to a specific level (usually after only one rain event), wastewater must be drained and hauled off-site.
- Wastewater haul-offs can cost $150 or more – per containment, per event.
- Companies located in high-rainfall states can fork out a lot of money each year to meet regulatory mandates and avoid hefty fines and penalties.
Containment Tank Spills or Overflows
Heavy accumulations of rainfall, snow, sleet, or hail can cause secondary containments to overflow, allowing hazardous chemicals, drilling fluids, flammables, combustibles, or corrosives, etc., to fall to the ground and collect.
Spills, leaks, or overflows can:
- Mix with groundwater – attracting birds and wildlife
- Seep into the water table
- Reach nearby streams, rivers, or lakes
- Affect drinking water
- Impact soil and plant life
A recent “Safari Tracks” wildlife documentary told the story of the Water Buffalo in Africa. Their movements, migratory patterns, and behaviors can also apply to birds and animals here in North America: “If there’s water, they will come.”
- Even small amounts of chemicals mixed with a small amount of rainfall can attract thirsty birds and animals.
- Birds and animals can drown in containment tanks.
- Birds and animals can also die from drinking contaminated water.
- BIG FINES: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other Federal or state regulatory agencies can review contamination events and levy heavy penalties. Incidents involving songbirds can result in fines of up to $10,000 per bird. Each dead migratory bird can cost as much as $30,000 – per incident, per site.
Download a PDF that cites the BLM mandates.
AST, CIS, and Containment Issues
Even small amounts of water in the containment (mixed with tiny amounts of chemicals) can attract thirsty birds and wildlife.
Minimum capacities for containment tanks (in relation to AST or CIS units) are often not enough to contain precipitation from a 25-year, 24-hour rainfall event – especially if significant accumulations of wastewater (prior to the event) have not been removed.
Click here for a PDF covering: “Federal AST Requirements under 40 CFR, Part 112”
Regulatory Issues and Compliance
- In the United States, oil and gas industry usage of Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) is primarily regulated at the state level. But, numerous Federal statutes and agency mandates – as well as local requirements that can be more stringent – often overlap.
- Regulations, compliance procedures, and testing methods can often differ between states. Sometimes, regulations vary between cities or municipalities within a state.
- New laws – plus revisions of existing legislation (at all levels) – make it difficult for owners, managers, and engineers to keep track and remain current.
Environmental Issues & Best Management Practices
- ASTs, Chemical Injection Systems, and/or containment tanks must meet BLM color chart requirements on Federal land.
- Oil & Gas sites on non-Federal land can also be mandated (through state or local legislation) to adhere to BLM color chart standards.
- Non-compliance can result in fines and penalties.
Visit our Environmental & Governmental Regulations page for more info.
Our state-of-the-art Tank Toppers can cover and protect your tanks and equipment:
- Chemical Storage Tanks
- Chemical Injection Systems
- Methanol Tanks
- Secondary Containment Tanks
- Earthen Pits
- Trucks and Vehicles
- Pipeline and Drilling Equipment
We invite you to learn more about our Tank Toppers solutions.