What You Need to Know About Secondary Containment

Secondary containment is a term related to sealless pumps, both magnetic drive and canned motor drive pumps (CMP). These pumps are commonly used to process hazardous liquids and toxic materials. Containment of the liquid is critical. However, these pumps do not use a shaft seal for primary containment.

What is Secondary Containment?

Secondary containment is exactly what it sounds like—a secondary pressure boundary to fully contain dangerous pumped liquids. A secondary containment system is in place in the event of a breach in the primary containment system. Today’s advanced secondary containment solutions may also include special features. For example, sensors and relay circuits are implemented to detect primary containment breaches and ensure the secondary containment unit does what it needs to do.

Secondary Containment vs. Secondary Control

Some operators mistakenly use the term “secondary control” instead of secondary containment. Secondary control is similar in that it provides a secondary pressure barrier. However, secondary control can allow small amounts of leakage when dealing with less hazardous materials. Secondary containment is necessary when pumping toxic liquids that cannot be leaked into the environment under any circumstances.

Sealless Pumps and Primary Containment

One of the most significant advantages of sealless pump designs is their excellent primary containment systems. The lack of mechanical seals minimizes the chances that any leaks can happen in the first place. Still, there’s never a guarantee a sealless pump won’t develop a leak. Mechanical components will become worn over time, causing corrosion and abrasion inside the pump system because of the problematic liquids being processed. Sealless pumps are ideal for these applications, but they are not 100 percent foolproof.

A secondary containment system must be implemented to ensure safety while processing hazardous liquids. Which secondary containment design you utilize may depend on the specific pump system configuration and the materials being pumped. Speak with your pump supplier to determine the ideal secondary containment solution based on your processing application and pump system equipment.

Why Secondary Containment is Crucial

Secondary containment is not an issue you can afford to ignore as a pump operator working with deadly liquids and process materials. Any containment breaches can be extremely costly. You will have hazardous substances leak into the environment, which can lead to fines and shutdowns. More importantly, you may face major repairs to your equipment and lost production time. Worse, without secondary containment, you may be literally risking the lives of your workers and anyone nearby.

We represent the world’s leading manufacturers of sealless pump equipment, including Ansimag, Liquiflo, HMD Kontro, and Blackmer. Allow our pump experts to help you find the ideal pump for the application at hand, and to guide you with custom secondary containment solutions.

To learn more about secondary containment and configuring sealless CMP and magnetic drive pumps for your challenging application, contact DXP Cortech today.