Tom Ham writes:
"Our township says that we must have a containment wall of some type around any waste oil thanks/drums and any new oil tanks/drums inside of the shop. If you have had to do something similar in your shop, what did you do to comply?"
One forum member responds:
"We went through something similar with our city when we 'modified' our single floor drain by adding a trench to it across the entire shop. The same 4-inch drain hole, but it required adding a vented four-chamber oil/water separator to the drain system, adding about $15,000 to the cost."
Another forum member responds:
"I used the bottom half of a 2,000 gallon septic tank. I removed the baffles and put four 275-gallon oil tanks in it, then built walls and a roof. Two of the tanks feed my waste oil heater and one is for used antifreeze. The fourth tank I drain waste oil into from the shop, let it settle and then pump it to the waste oil heater tanks.
"The pump pickup is set at one quarter of a tank. I have not had to clean a filter for the heater in 10 years."
A third forum member writes:
"I have a 1,600 gallon tank that is in a casket-type container. It is sealed all around and has two caps to take off to see if anything is wrong. It is on a pad and a few inches off the ground."
A fourth forum member replies:
"Our fire regulations require that if we have over 55 gallons of oil in a container, it must have its own fire suppression system. To avoid that cost, we use metal horse watering troughs, available at most feed stores, as containment for multiple 55 gallon drums. They come in different lengths and can hold one to four drums per trough, and they meet the overflow requirements. Cheap and effective secondary containment!"
A fifth forum member responds:
"We also use metal horse watering tanks. Before buying, measure your 55-gallon drums to make sure they will fit inside."
A sixth forum member writes:
"We talked with our oil supplier and used co-op dollars to have giant cookie sheets made for under the tanks. It met fire code and satisfied our EnviroStars representative."
The questions and responses are posted on the Automotive Management Network website, which is operated by Deb and Tom Ham, owners of Auto Centric (formerly Ham's Automotive) in Grand Rapids, Mich. The comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.