Size / Storage Capacity:
Questions that you need to ask yourself regarding this area include: What volume of chemicals do I need to store? Are we holding too much chemical stock on site at the moment? Can I reduce the volume of chemicals that we hold on site and thereby reduce the risk of accidental pollution? Do I need to allow extra storage capacity for expansion of our business in the future?
What size are my chemical containers – 2.5 litre bottles, 25 litre drums, 205 litre drums, 1000 litre IBC’s? The types of storage containers that you will use your chemical store for will greatly depict which option to choose.
Will it be a pallet based chemical store where chemicals will be loaded and unloaded from the store by fork lift truck, or do I need a ‘walk-in’ chemical store so that operators can collect smaller chemical containers when required? Do I need a ‘Combi’ store with both pallet storage and walk-in storage? Depending on how heavy the chemical containers you are using are, will help you to decide whether you need a walk-in or pallet storage unit.
Do I need a chemical store purely for storage of chemicals or will I need to have operators go into the store to decant chemicals or package waste chemicals? Do I need to put in extra safety measures e.g. forced extraction, lighting, fire escape, anti-static grounding? If the usage of your chemical store will need to include preparation areas, you will require a larger capacity than one used simply for retrieving or storing chemicals.
Are all my chemicals of the same hazard class and therefore compatible with each other, or do I need to segregate non-compatible chemicals? If you are unsure about segregation, talk to your chemical supplier and make reference to the chemicals MSDS (material safety data sheet). Are my chemicals highly flammable? Do I need a fire rated flammables store? The type of chemicals that you intend to store will also play a large role in your choice of chemical store.
The Chemical Store will need to have a bund. What minimum bund capacity do I need? This can be calculated by calculating 110% of the volume of your largest chemical container or 25% of the total volume of chemicals to be stored in the chemical store – whichever is the larger figure. What material will the bund be constructed from? Do I need a plastic bund liner for corrosive chemicals?
Where will I locate the chemical store on site? Outdoor or indoor? If you want to position a chemical store in the outdoor grounds of the main factory for operational reasons, you need to ensure that is positioned away from drains and rivers. If you are storing flammable chemicals, your store needs to be able to be positioned a safe distance from sources of ignition, site boundary and occupied buildings. You need to ensure that your chemical store suits the needs of your intended location in terms of durability and size.
Are my chemicals sensitive to extremes of temperature? Do I need frost protection? Do I need a temperature controlled store? In order to ensure that you invest in a chemical store which will be durable and correctly maintain chemicals, you need to consider any requirements for temperature control.
Will I build a store on site or purchase a ready made chemical store off the shelf? Should I order a bespoke chemical store manufactured to meet my requirements? Purchasing a bunded chemical store from a manufacturer will give you the advantages of short lead time, flexibility and assured compliance however some people prefer to build their own store. The other mitigating factors aforementioned in this list should help you to decide whether you can feasibly build a chemical store yourself or whether you need to leave it to the experts.