By Barb Ernster
Since manufacturing the first portable spill containment product in the 1980s used in building the Alaska Pipeline, Seattle Tarp Co. has seen this market ebb and flow. Today its customized water and spill containment products are the most significant part of its business. The demand is coming from tighter regulations in the oil and gas industry and other areas where chemicals are used on-site.
“The general public is becoming more aware of what goes on at these sites, what types of chemicals are used, the players involved in the work performance. Regulations are changing rapidly, calling for these types of chemicals to be stored carefully, with the water table and water safety being the biggest concern,” says vice president Deano Perlatti.
“Going green” and how that relates to being efficient are the most significant new developments for basic products, he adds. More fabric suppliers are developing chemically resistant products, adding to the sources available. Seattle Tarp is also experiencing new demand for water containment bladders because they are easily transported to remote construction sites or mining operations where the local water supply has been polluted.
New regulations for dry dock containment in Puget Sound have opened another promising market for Seattle Tarp. The old containment systems were made with hundreds of sheets of plywood that required at least 30 days of labor to install. Seattle Tarp developed a lighter system made with a co-polymer, heavy-duty, FR-coated fabric that is completely reliable in containing spills and takes just a weekend to install.
“The labor savings were off the charts. That has been amazing. We’ve provided systems for eight different vessels that contain everything for ships, nuclear submarines, even aircraft carriers,” says Perlatti. “If more dry docks around the country were to see what’s been done here on the West Coast, they would save a lot of money.”