• Posted by: Ecospill Spill Kits

IBC Bunding Requirements: Everything You Need to Know

Hazardous chemicals and substances require careful handling to prevent accidents and environmental damage.

One crucial aspect of chemical handling is storing and transporting materials in Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). To minimise the risk of spills and leaks – it is essential to use bunding systems that contain and control any hazardous material that may escape from the IBC. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about IBC bunding requirements and how to ensure compliance with the regulations.

What is IBC bunding?

IBCs are designed to store and transport bulk liquids and powders. However, in the event of a leak or spill, these materials can pose a significant risk to the environment and human health. To mitigate this risk, Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) must be equipped with bunding.

IBC bunding is a secondary containment system designed to capture any spills or leaks occurring from an IBC. The bund is typically made of durable materials, such as Galvanised Steel or polyethene, and surrounds the IBC, creating a barrier that contains any hazardous material that may escape.

The purpose of IBC bunding is to prevent any hazardous material from escaping into the environment, where it can contaminate soil, water, or air. Bunding also facilitates the safe and efficient cleanup of spills and leaks by containing the hazardous material within the bund and allowing for its safe removal without causing further harm.

There are various types of IBC bunds available, including portable bunds, spill pallets, and drum spill containment units. The type of bund required will depend on the specific requirements of the workplace and the hazardous materials being stored or transported in the IBC.

IBC Bunding Regulations and Standards

The safe storage and handling of hazardous materials is a critical concern for any workplace that deals with these substances. In Australia, there are strict regulations in place to ensure that IBCs containing hazardous materials are safely and securely stored.

Here is a list of some of the relevant Australian standards that you should be aware of when it comes to the IBC bunding for hazardous materials:

  • Class 3 Flammable Liquids : AS 1940:2017 – provides guidelines for storing and handling flammable and combustible liquids. It covers the design, construction, and installation of storage and handling facilities for flammable and combustible liquids, including Class 3 flammable liquids .
  • Class 4 Flammable Solids : AS/NZS 5026:2012 – provides specific requirements for the design, construction, and installation of storage and handling facilities for class 4 dangerous goods, including flammable solids.
  • Class 5.1 Oxidising Agent : AS 4326:2008 – provides guidelines for storing and handling oxidising agents. The standard covers various aspects such as the design, construction, and installation of storage facilities, including outdoor storage, and the selection and use of personal protective equipment.
  • Class 5.2 Organic Peroxide : AS 2714:2008 – provides recommendations for storing and handling organic peroxides.
  • Class 6 Toxic Substances : AS/NZS 4452-1997 – provides guidelines for storing and handling toxic substances .
  • Class 8 Corrosives : AS 3780:2008 – outlines specific storage and handling requirements of corrosive substances , such as the segregation of incompatible substances, ventilation requirements, and emergency procedures. It also guides on spill control and disposal of corrosive substances.
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods : AS/NZS 4681-2000 - provides guidelines for the safe storage and handling of Class 9 dangerous goods and articles, which include substances and articles that present a low risk of danger during transport but can still pose a hazard if not stored and handled correctly.

IBC Bunding Guidelines

In order to ensure the safe storage of hazardous materials, it is crucial to have an IBC bunding system that is designed and maintained under the following guidelines:

IBC bunding system capacity

It refers to the amount of liquid that can be contained within the bunding system. It is essential to ensure that the bund has sufficient capacity to contain any spills or leaks from the IBCs it is intended to protect. The capacity of the bunding system should be determined based on the volume of the largest container being stored.

Compatible material

The materials used in the bunding system should be able to withstand exposure to the hazardous material being stored and resist any corrosion or degradation that may occur over time. Compatibility should also be considered when selecting any sealants or coatings used in the construction of the bunding system.

Consider the ease of access to the IBC bunding system

Ease of access to the IBC bunding system is an essential factor to consider when designing and constructing the bunding system. Adequate space should be provided to allow for easy manoeuvring of the IBCs in and out of the bunding system. Accessibility also makes it easier to carry out regular inspections and maintenance of the bunding system.

Bund heights and tank distance from the wall 

When using wall-type bunds, it is necessary to ensure that the walls are of adequate height, typically between 0.5 to 1.5 metres, to accommodate the required containment capacity and distance to the tank. The closer the wall is to the tank, the higher it should be. A minimum distance of 1 metre should be maintained between the bund walls and the tanks. In cases where the walls exceed 1 metre in height, it is advisable to provide steps or ladders for a quick escape. Additionally, for walls that are close to tanks or higher than 1.5 metres, confined space regulations may apply.

Packaged storage 

When storing hazardous materials that are contained in small containers or drums, it is important to ensure that the bunded area can contain at least 25% of the total volume of the stored products. Furthermore, it is necessary to plan for the containment of firewater by implementing appropriate drainage controls and creating emergency response plans. This helps to prevent contamination of the surrounding environment in case of a spill or leakage.

Temporary storage

Temporary storage is often required for certain activities like forestry or mining operations, which may involve frequent relocation. In such cases, it may be acceptable to store drums temporarily on spill containment pallets. These pallets should have the capacity to capture the contents of at least one drum in case of a leak. It is crucial to store the drums on a level surface to ensure maximum spill storage capacity and cover them to prevent the pallets from filling with rainwater.

Temporary bunding arrangements must ensure that in case of a spill, there is only a potential for localised contamination. However, it is important to note that temporary storage should only be utilised when required, and regular inspection and maintenance of the bunding system must still be carried out to ensure its effectiveness.

Regularly inspect and maintain your IBC bunding

Regular inspection and maintenance of your IBC bunding system are critical to ensure it remains in good condition and continues to function as intended. Regular inspections can help identify any damage or wear and tear, allowing for timely repairs or replacements to be carried out. Maintenance can include cleaning, testing, and replacing any damaged or worn components before they become a safety hazard.

Ecospill’s IBC Containment Pallets

Following IBC bunding requirements is crucial for preventing environmental damage and protecting human health and safety. Proper bunding helps contain spills and leaks, preventing the spread of hazardous materials and limiting contamination. It also ensures compliance with regulatory standards and helps avoid costly fines and legal liabilities. In addition, following IBC bunding requirements can promote responsible and sustainable practices in the handling and storage of dangerous goods, ultimately contributing to a safer and healthier environment.

If you need high-quality IBC containment solutions , look no further than Ecospill. Our products are designed and manufactured to meet the highest standards of safety, compliance, and sustainability.

Visit our website to learn more about our services and products and make a responsible choice to ensure a safer and healthier environment for all.