Tetrachloroethylene Regulations

PERC Pointer #4 - Secondary Containment Systems

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Any containers or tanks holding tetrachloroethylene (PERC), waste water or residue (e.g., sludge, lint and used filters) must have a secondary containment system.

Secondary containment systems must:

  1. Be made of a PERC-impermeable material;
  2. Cover at least the entire surface under the machine or container that holds PERC, waste water or residue; and
  3. Be able to hold a volume equal to 110%Footnote 1 of the largest tank or storage container.


Typically, this means placing the dry-cleaning machine, waste water bucket, sludge drum, waste water treatment system, etc. inside another container, such as a spill tray, pan, platform or pallet.

PERC-impermeable material can completely stop PERC from passing through. Rubber and bare concrete are not PERC-impermeable materials. Corrosion-resistant or stainless steel is a commonly used PERC-impermeable material. Contact your hazardous waste specialist to discuss PERC-impermeable secondary containment options.


Secondary containment systems provide a second line of defense against PERC leaks. This helps to:

  • Reduce the risks of environmental contamination;
  • Reduce time and cost of any PERC spill cleanup;
  • Reduce workplace hazards; and
  • Protect the facility and equipment from damage.

Regulatory Compliance

Environment Canada undertakes regular inspections in order to verify compliance with the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and its regulations. Investigations are conducted when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred. In situations of non-compliance, enforcement officers may issue a warning or an environmental protection compliance order, proceed with prosecution, or take some other enforcement action, depending on the circumstances (see the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Where an officer proceeds with prosecution and a conviction is obtained, the Court may order a fine and/or imprisonment. In 2012, maximum fines were increased and mandatory minimum fines were introduced for certain specified offences. For further information, consult Environment Canada's website.

Prevent spills!

Secondary Containment Systems
Long Description

Image of a drum containing PERC and/or PERC waste sitting in a secondary containment tray.

Please contact your regional Environment Canada office if you have any questions or concerns:

Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick



Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

British Columbia, Yukon

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre

For information regarding reproduction rights, please contact Environment Canada's Inquiry Centre at 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800 or email to enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca.

Also available in French, Persian, Chinese (traditional), Punjabi and Korean.

This document is provided as a courtesy for compliance promotional purposes only and is neither an official version of nor a substitute for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations. Please refer to the Regulations to determine your full legal obligations. In case of a discrepancy between the law and this document, the law prevails.

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