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Secondary Containment Showdown: Poly vs. Steel for Spill Pallets

Selecting the appropriate spill pallet is crucial for making informed decisions about resistance. Explore our latest article for insights on identifying media resistance, valuable tips, checklists, and more.

DENIOS offers a diverse range of spill pallets, including Polyethylene (Poly)—an adaptable thermoplastic polymer recognized for its outstanding resistance to acids and alkalis. This makes it a preferred option for a variety of spill containment applications. Steel, known for its strength and durability, is another robust material widely utilized in spill containment applications, ensuring prolonged effectiveness. Properly planning a chemical drums storage is very important.

Why secondary spill containment?

Environmental Protection:

Spills or leaks of chemicals can lead to environmental pollution, adversely affecting soil, water, and air quality. Proper containment on spill pallets ensures that any accidental release is confined, minimizing the risk of environmental damage.

Employee Safety:

Chemical spills pose a direct threat to the safety and well-being of employees. Containing chemicals on spill pallets helps prevent accidental exposure, inhalation, or skin contact, reducing the potential for injuries or health hazards.

Asset Protection:

Chemical spills can cause damage to equipment, infrastructure, and storage facilities. By using spill pallets, businesses can safeguard their assets, preventing corrosion, degradation, or contamination of valuable equipment and resources.

Compliance with Regulations:

Many regulatory authorities mandate the proper containment of hazardous substances to ensure workplace safety and environmental protection. Using spill pallets is often a regulatory requirement, and failure to comply can result in fines, legal consequences, and reputational damage.

Sump volumes that adhere to regulations set by EPA, OSHA, NFPA, UFC, and various other standards.

Choosing the Right Material for Spill Containment

Effective spill containment is critical to environmental safety, particularly in industries dealing with hazardous substances. The choice of spill containment material is pivotal in preventing environmental harm and ensuring regulatory compliance. In this section, we'll delve into the significance of selecting the suitable material for spill containment and explore the unique properties of two main options: Poly and Steel.

Importance of Material Selection

The environmental impact of spills can be severe, leading to soil contamination, water pollution, and ecosystem harm. Proper spill containment is a frontline defense against these potential disasters. The material used in containment solutions determines how effectively and safely spills are managed.

Selecting the suitable material is crucial for several reasons:

Chemical compatibility

Different materials exhibit varying degrees of resistance to chemicals. Selecting a material compatible with the stored substances ensures that the containment solution remains effective over time.

Durability and Strength

The material's durability directly influences its ability to withstand physical stresses and impacts. A robust material ensures structural integrity, reducing the risk of leaks and spills.

Environmental Conditions

The environment in which spill containment solutions are deployed can vary widely. Factors such as temperature, UV exposure, and moisture levels impact the material's performance. Choosing a material suited to these conditions enhances its longevity and effectiveness.

Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to industry regulations and standards is paramount. The chosen material should align with regulatory requirements to avoid fines, legal complications, and environmental penalties.

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Polyethylene (Poly): A Versatile Solution for Chemical Resistance

Polyethylene is a versatile thermoplastic polymer celebrated for its chemical resistance. Its properties include:

  • Chemical Inertness: Polyethylene does not react significantly with a wide range of substances, making it ideal for containing acids, bases, salts, and organic solvents.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Unlike metals, polyethylene does not corrode when exposed to corrosive substances, ensuring durability in challenging environments.
  • Versatility: Polyethylene's adaptability makes it suitable for various spill containment applications, from industrial settings to laboratories.

Steel: Robust Containment Solutions for Corrosion Resistance and Strength

Discover the strength and durability of steel, a resilient material extensively used in spill containment. Explore its key features, including corrosion resistance, structural integrity, and versatility, making steel an indispensable choice for reliable spill containment solutions across diverse industries.

  • Corrosion Resistance: Certain grades of steel, especially stainless steel, exhibit excellent corrosion resistance, making them suitable for exposure to corrosive substances.
  • Strength and Durability: Steel's structural integrity withstands physical stresses and impacts, providing a robust barrier against spills.
  • Versatility: Steel finds application in various spill containment solutions, offering strength and reliability across industries.

Considerations and Limitations: Making Informed Choices

As we explore the world of spill containment, understanding the considerations and limitations of different materials is crucial for making informed decisions. In this section, we'll delve into the factors that play a pivotal role in choosing between Poly and Steel spill pallets. By evaluating material compatibility, environmental conditions, and maintenance requirements, readers can navigate the nuances of each option and select the most suitable spill containment solution for their specific needs.

Comparing Steel vs. Poly Spill Pallets

To aid in decision-making, let's examine a comprehensive table that contrasts the critical features of Steel and Poly spill pallets:

Criteria Poly Spill Pallets Steel Spill Pallets
Chemical Resistance Ideal for acids, bases, salts, and organic solvents. Excellent resistance to corrosive substances.
Corrosion Resistance Does not corrode when exposed to corrosive substances. Certain grades, especially stainless steel, resist corrosion effectively.
Strength and Durability Good structural integrity but may not withstand heavy impacts as effectively as steel. Robust structural integrity, capable of withstanding substantial impacts.
Versatility Adaptable to various spill containment applications. Offers versatility across a wide range of spill containment solutions.
Environmental Considerations Resistant to moisture and water absorption. Requires additional finishes and coatings for extended chemical resistance.
Temperature Stability Maintains chemical resistance across a broad temperature range. Suitable for spills involving hot or cold substances.
Material Compatibility Highly resistant to many chemicals but may not be suitable for all substances. Generally resistant to many chemicals, but certain aggressive substances may pose risks.
UV Exposure Susceptible to the effects of UV exposure. Requires additional protective measures against UV exposure.
Maintenance Generally low maintenance; may be affected by UV exposure and certain environmental conditions. Requires regular inspection and maintenance to address signs of corrosion.
Regulatory Compliance Compliant with regulations; compatibility should be verified for specific chemicals. Compliant with regulations; regular inspection ensures continued compliance.
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Maximizing Spill Containment Effectiveness: Best Practices and Recommendations


In compliance with current US regulations, the storage of oil and fuel containers outdoors mandates the use of 'secondary containment' like spill pallets and drip trays, as outlined in the EPA's Oil Storage Regulations. This requirement ensures that any leaked material is confined within the spill pallet, with secondary containment items designed to hold 110% of the maximum capacity of the container. Additionally, spill pallets are mandated when storing and transferring hazardous substances to mitigate pollution risks to land, surface water, and groundwater. Beyond regulatory adherence, spill pallets meet health and safety obligations by minimizing slip and trip risks associated with leaks and spills.

DENIOS, the leading manufacturer and supplier of spill pallets in the US, recognizes the significance of choosing appropriate storage solutions. DENIOS experts have created a guide for selecting spill pallets to assist customers in this decision-making process. It emphasizes the importance of considering the handled materials, as different substances require specific spill pallets. For instance, steel spill pallets, available in galvanized and painted versions, are suitable for storing water-polluting and flammable substances like oils and lacquers. On the other hand, aggressive chemicals such as acids and alkalis necessitate the use of stainless steel or plastic spill pallets.

Media Resistance List

When determining the appropriate spill pallet for the materials in use, referring to the safety data sheets is advisable. These documents provide comprehensive information on your materials' safe storage and transportation.

To assist you in selecting the most suitable spill pallet, we've curated a media resistance list encompassing a diverse range of storage media.

Spill pallets crafted from steel are suitable for numerous chemical substances, while corrosive substances like acids and alkalis necessitate polyethylene or stainless steel spill pallets.

Chemical stored Concentration Steel 1), 4) S-Steel 2) Galvanized-Steel 3) Poly - PE / HDPE 4)
Acetaldehyde ≤ 40 %
Acetaldehyde max. poss
Acetic acid <5%
Aircraft turbine fuel
Ammonium hydroxide ≤ 30 %
Ammonium hydroxide 1.8%
Ammonium nitrate saturated Not recommended
Ammonium solution
Anti-freeze (car)
Battery acid ≤ 78%
Benzoic acid
Bio Diesel
Boric acid ≤ 10% Not recommended
Brake fluid
Butanol max. poss.
Calcium acetate aqueous
Calcium chlorate, aqueous solution ≤ 65%
Calcium hydroxide Not recommended
Calcium hypochlorite saturated Not recommended
Chloroacetic acid ≤ 50%
Chloric acid ≤ 20% Not recommended ✓, 5)
Chromic acid ≤ 20% ✓, 5)
Citric acid ✓, 5) Citric acid
Crude oil
Dichlorethylene max. poss.
Diesel fuel
Ferric (II) sulphate saturated
Ferric (III) chloride saturated
Ferric (III) sulphate saturated
Ethyl acetate
Ethyl chloride
Ethyl glycol
Gearbox oil
Glycolic acid ≤ 70%
Heating oil
Hydrazine ≤ 10%
Hydrazine hydrate aqueous
Hydrochloric acid > 37% ✓, 5) ✓, 5)
Hydrogen peroxide ≤ 95% ✓, 5)
Isobutyl ether
Isobutyl acetate
Isobutyl chloride
Chemical stored Concentration Steel 1), 4) S-Steel2) Galvanized-Steel2) Poly - PE / HDPE 3)
Isopropyl alcohol (Isopropanol)
Magnesium carbonate saturated
Magnesium chloride aqueous Not recommended
Magnesium nitrate saturated
Magnesium sulfate
Menthol solid
Methyl acetate
Methyl acrylate
Methyl chloride
Motor fuel
Nitric acid ≤ 10%
Oleic acid max. poss.
Petroleum max. poss.
Phenol 100%
Phosphoric acid ≤ 95% Not recommended
Potassium carbonate depth of corrosion ≤ 0.050 inches / year
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chloride aqueous 1.8% / 70˚F (21˚C) depth of corrosion ≤ 0.050 inches / year
Potassium chloride ≤ saturated sol. / 70˚F (21˚C) depth of corrosion ≤ 0.050 inches / year
Potassium hydroxide, aqueous sol. 50% Not recommended
Potassium nitrate 50% Not recommended
Potassium nitrate ≤ saturated sol. Not recommended
Potassium phosphate ≤ saturated sol.
Potassium sulphate ≤ saturated sol.
Salicylic acid saturated
Silicic acid
Sodium acetate
Sodium bisulphate
Sodium bisulphide aqueous
Sodium carbonate
Sodium chloride
Sodium hydrogen sulphate ≤ GL
Sodium hydrogen sulphide ≤ GL
Sodium hydroxide
Sodium sulphate
Sodium sulphide ≤ GL
Sodium hypochlorite ✓, 5) ✓, 5)
Spirits of turpentine
Sulphuric acid ≤ 80%
Sulphuric acid 95%
Sulphurous acid saturated
Toluene 70˚F (21˚C)
Uric acid

1) Painted (WN 1.0038) or galvanized (1.0242) steel
2) Stainless steel 1.4301 (V2A)
3) Polyethylene (PE)
4) Galvanized sump pallets are not suitable for the storage of the following liquids: organic and inorganic acids, sodium bicarbonate, caustic potassium carbonate solution, as well as other alkali hydroxides, chlorinated hydrocarbons, amine, nitro compounds, acid chlorides, and other chlorides, phenol, aqueous alkaline solutions, nitrile.

We are happy to advise you!

Tailor-made advice & service fulfillment at your fingertips. Our advisors go the extra mile to fulfill your needs. Take advantage of our phone, mail or on-premise service offers.

Expert advice 1-877-388-0187

Berms vs. Spill Pallets: Choosing the Right Spill Containment


Spill containment is crucial for any facility handling hazardous liquids. Spill pallets and berms offer excellent protection but excel in different situations. Here's a breakdown to help you decide which is the right choice for your needs:

When to Choose a Berm

  • Larger Volume Spills: Berms are ideal for containing more significant leaks or spills, as they typically have a higher capacity than spill pallets. This makes them well-suited for use under equipment prone to more significant leaks, such as generators or transformers.

  • Outdoor Applications: Many berms are designed for outdoor use and constructed with weather-resistant materials like polyethylene. This makes them a good choice for containing spills that might occur during outdoor refilling or maintenance procedures.

  • Drive-Over Capability: Some berms, particularly foam berms, are designed to be driven over by vehicles. This makes them ideal for use in areas with frequent vehicle traffic, such as loading docks or fueling stations.

  • Uneven Surfaces: Unlike spill pallets, berms can conform to slightly uneven surfaces, providing a more secure containment solution on rough ground.

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The specialist information on this page has been compiled carefully and to the best of our knowledge and belief. Nevertheless, DENIOS Inc cannot assume any warranty or liability of any kind, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, for the topicality, completeness and correctness either towards the reader or towards third parties. The use of the information and content for your own or third party purposes is therefore at your own risk. In any case, please observe the locally and currently applicable legislation.

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