Are You Using the Right Spill Berm for Your Application?

Sue Uhler on Apr 12, 2018 3:44:22 PM

Vehicle Wash

Spill berms are utilized as barriers that prohibit the spread of contamination into the ground, surface water, and waterways. Unlike a permanent containment liner, spill berms are typically temporary or semi-permanent. In some cases, permanent spill berms are utilized, which require long-term high-performance geomembranes to adequately protect the environment. Temporary spill berms are portable, short-term containment. These types of berms are used for day-to-day activities such as the offloading of trucks, short-term storage, and site preparations to name a few. They resist contaminates, can undergo abrasion and potential punctures during operation, are easily cleanable following a spill, and easy to use.

There's a wide range of products and sizes available on the market. But which one should you choose? Before making any decisions, you must take into consideration the application(s), life expectancy, chemical resistance, and durability requirements. For example, a disposable, one-time-use berm may not need to be as durable as one that's used in daily discharge applications at multiple sites throughout the day or week. Below is a list of factors to consider when deciding what spill berm is the best option for your application.

Chemical Resistance

The chemical resistance of the berm geomembrane is critical to the performance of the berm in both disposable and multiuse applications. The manufacturer should be able to provide chemical-resistance compatibility on the product. The chemical resistance of a spill berm is dependent on the base material that's being used—not all geomembranes are equally resistant. The broader the exposure range of the geomembrane, the more options it provides for use in multiple applications. Choose the one that fits the broadest range of your applications.

Abrasion Resistance

Now that you've considered the chemical resistance of the berm geomembrane, you should consider abrasion resistance, which plays a key role (especially on multiuse spill berms), as does puncture resistance. Abrasion is directly related to the durability of the coating. The coating formulation of the geomembrane directly imparts its abrasion resistance. On reinforced geomembranes, adhesion of the coating to the reinforcement (also known as the base cloth) can affect abrasion resistance. Keep in mind that thicker isn't necessarily better. A reinforced geomembrane offers comparable puncture resistance at a lower weight.

A good balance of performance properties is important when evaluating spill berm geomembranes. The broader the chemical resistance, the more durable the product in regards to abrasion and puncture resistance at a lower weight, and the easier it is to use, the longer-lasting and portable the spill berm—which means it can be utilized multiple times and kept out of landfills.

Reinforced XR® Geomembranes offer a broad range of chemical resistance with excellent abrasion and puncture resistance, providing the perfect balance of performance properties. To learn more, contact an XR Geomembrane representative today.

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