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Updated: Nov 6, 2021

Having a secondary containment practice in place for your facility can boost facility hygiene, protect the environment, and keep your operation in compliance, allowing you to avoid fines & penalties.

When it comes to compliance from a secondary containment standpoint in Canada, there is a long list and an entire code of secondary containment practices that must be implemented into any given operation in order to be in compliance. Here, we will give it to you in bullet form to make for an easy read that'll get you up to speed in minutes on secondary containment. Scroll to the end of this post for province/territory/ specific regulations. These recommendations are based on the code put together by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). The CCME recommends that these practices be adopted at a minimum in order to be in compliance with basic federal and provincial/territorial rules and regulations.

Definition of secondary containment: An impermeable barrier that prevents leaks from the primary storage tank system from reaching outside the containment area.

1. Ensure all secondary containment systems meet one of two of the below characteristics

  • A single-wall- bottom storage tank placed entirely within a diked area, with an impermeable barrier in the floor of the containment area and in the dike walls or

  • A single-wall, double-bottom storage tank placed entirely within a diked area, with an impermeable barrier in the floor of the containment area around the storage tank and in the dike walls, but not underneath the storage tank.

2. Secondary containment shall be in conformance with the following:

Used oil storage tanks that are manually filled:

  • ULC/ORD-C124.23, “Aboveground Waste Oil Tanks” or

  • ULC-S652, “Standard for Tank Assemblies for Collection of Used Oil”

3. Aboveground Storage Tank Secondary Containment Maintenance (per the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, S. O. 2000, c. 16):

Used oil storage tanks that are manually filled:

  • Secondary containment shall be inspected on a regular basis, not less than once per week, to ensure the removal of any accumulated surface water, snow, drums, portable containers, objects or product that would reduce the fluid volume capacity to provide a volume of liquid at least 10% greater than the volume of the tank, or a volume of liquid not less than the volume of the largest tank plus 10% of the aggregate volume of all the other tanks, or 10% greater than the volume of the largest tank, whichever is greater (dike with more than one tank).

  • Where secondary containment is provided with valves that allow the removal of accumulated surface water or product, they should be closed and locked when not engaged in a supervised draining operation, and the valve positions must be clearly marked whether opened or closed.

  • Controls for the drainage system shall be accessible under fire exposure conditions and located outside the secondary containment area.

4. Underground piping up to 75 mm nominal pipe diameter:

  • Shall have secondary containment.

5. Underground secondary containment piping shall:

  • Be constructed and installed in conformance with ULC/ORD-C107.7.

  • Be constructed and installed in conformance with ULC/ORD-C107.4.

  • Consist of a single-wall piping contained within a synthetic membrane liner manufactured and installed in conformance with ULC/ORD-C58.9.

  • Consist of a single-wall fiberglass-reinforced plastic, or single-wall steel piping, contained within a duct designed, constructed and installed in conformance with ULC/ORD-C107.19.

6. Underground piping larger than 75 mm nominal pipe diameter shall have:

  • Secondary containment with interstitial space leak detection, or b) a precision leak test in conformance with the NVC every two years beginning in the fifth year of operation, or c) leak detection in conformance with ULC/ORD-C58.14, "Nonvolumetric Leak Detection Devices for Underground Flammable Liquid Storage Tanks".

7. Secondary containment impermeable barriers:

Shall conform to NFC, Subsection 4.3.7 in addition to the following performance specifications:

  • ULC/ORD-C58.9 using material compatible with the product being stored and installed so that: Product entering the interstitial space flows to a containment sump and the liner is sealed to the perimeter of the storage tanks or pad when the liner is not installed under the tank.

8. Concrete barriers shall:

  • Be designed and installed according to good engineering practices to meet the expected loads without fracture, have expansion joints located at least every 6 m, have expansion joints sealed with a sealant that is compatible with the product being stored and be graded to allow collection of liquids in the interstitial space.

9. Clay barriers shall:

  • Be installed in accordance with good engineering practice, be a minimum of 300 mm thick, be chemically compatible with native or cover soil, be covered with a minimum of 300 mm of material to prevent dryout and be graded to allow liquid to collect in the interstitial space.

10. Steel barriers shall:

  • Be a minimum of 4.5 mm thick, have a corrosion protection designed and installed under the direction of a corrosion expert and be sloped to allow liquid to collect in the interstitial space. Provincial and Territorial Departments have the authority to regulate storage tanks and storage requirements.

Provincial & Territorial Regulations


This regulation does not specify how much containment is required. A person who stores hazardous waste shall store it in an amount and manner so that:

  • at least secondary containment is provided for liquid hazardous waste, and there are no openings in the secondary containment system that provide a direct connection to the area surrounding the system and routine inspection of the site can be performed.


The owner of a storage facility where free liquid hazardous waste is stored in containers or tanks must:

  • provide space to allow for manual, visual inspection for leaks.

  • provide and maintain an impervious containment system sufficient to hold the larger of 110% of the largest volume of free liquid hazardous waste in any given container or tank, or 25% of the total volume of free liquid hazardous waste in storage.


Containment dikes and other protection:

Where, in the opinion of the director or an environmental officer, an aboveground storage tank system is situated in a location such that a release of petroleum product or an allied petroleum product could create a risk to surface water or groundwater quality, or to public health or safety, the director or environment officer may order the owner of the system to:

  • install secondary containment in respect of the system or

  • install any other means of protection referred to in the "Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum Products" in respect of the system.


There is no specific government document available. The requirements for spill prevention and containment for chemicals/hazardous w