Chemical companies dealing with hazardous, chemical substances must ensure the safe storage of these chemicals to safeguard the safety and health of the workers, including that of the environment and the public.
Flammable liquids, chemicals and hazardous waste are safely and securely stored in chemical storage buildings which feature a leak-tight sump area at the bottom to prevent leakage and contamination on the surrounding storage area. Due to a variety of volume capacity of chemicals and other hazardous liquids, the storage buildings for these are customized to accommodate any type of container or even equipment.
It is standard requirement and procedure that all Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids in drums in an outside location must be stored in a chemical storage building to safely secure from leakage and contamination. The classification of Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids are: Class 1A – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points below 37.8 degrees Centigrade; and Class 1B – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points at or above 37.8 degrees Centigrade.
The strict regulations for chemical storage containers are based on a system of inspection and accredited from Factory Mutual System Approval and the FB Approved fire rated wall and roof design, that’s why almost all chemical storage buildings are fire-rated designed and approved. Fire-rated storage buildings are evaluated based on fire ratings upgrade, which refers to the time duration in which a structure can withstand the damage of fire, such the standard criteria are: standard buildings must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, walls must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, and roofs must pass the 1.5-hour and 3-hour fire ratings upgrade. In addition, all fire-rated buildings must be equipped with hydraulic operated self-closing, fire-rated doors and fire damper protected vents.
Chemical storage buildings are constructed out of a 16 gauge galvanized steel for a 12 drum capacity, while larger buildings are constructed of a 12 gauge galvanized steel. The standard sump, bottom part of the storage building which functions as reservoir, is constructed of heavy gauge steel with leak tight seams, while the interior of the sump is coated with corrosion resistant material, a high-density polyethylene liner. If the building is designed to store four 55-gallon drums, the sump can only contain 55 gallons, this, therefore, points to the standard capacity of the sump, which must be at least 25% of the liquid storage capacity of the building.
A change in temperature can affect the spill barriers of the chemicals, such that if you are storing a liquid that may freeze and, in the process, the chemicals may expand and cause its container to burst, an explosion proof heater must be used during the cold seasons; and, in the same manner, if you’re storing a liquid that has a low flash point and the weather conditions allow for a high internal air temperature, an explosion proof air conditioning unit must be installed.
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