Do you know what potential hazards could be lurking in that steel drum that you purchased off of sites like Craigslist? What may seem like an innocent purchase of a used steel drum at a great price could potentially put you or your neighborhood at risk. An intensive investigation by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that many used drums purchased off of Craigslist have not gone through the rigorous cleaning and reconditioning process that is required in order to safely re-use drums, something that is found in reconditioned steel drums. In his investigation, Barrett found that used drums often contained remaining traces of flammable materials and vapors from previously stored flammables such as gasoline or motor oil. These remaining flammables could result in an explosion or fire causing the loss of homes, bodily injury, or even death if accidentally ignited.
While a drum may appear empty, if it had previously stored flammable materials it can still contain flammable vapors. The vapor, not the flammable material, is the actual cause of any explosion. Flammable vapor can become ignited from something as little as static shock. If a drum contains a small amount of flammables, it could be an even more dangerous situation. According to safety experts, an almost empty drum has a higher chance of exploding than a drum that is almost full. It only takes less than a cup of some flammable materials to fill a 55-gallon steel drum with enough air and flammable vapor to cause an explosion.
Why Our Reconditioned Steel Drums are Different
While it may be tempting to buy a few used drums off of sites like Craigslist for low prices, in order to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, it is best to buy one of the expertly reconditioned steel drums that we offer here at The Cary Company. All of our reconditioned steel drums come from a supplier that is a RIPA Member (Reusable Industrial Packaging Association), which in order to gain membership you must follow a code of conduct regarding the proper handling of drums coming in to be reconditioned and coming out to be sold to consumers. Our suppliers also must ensure that their company maintains an environmental insurance policy and that they also have a Responsible Container Management Policy.
Our reconditioned steel drums are cleaned, repaired, and repainted. They also are inspected multiple times to ensure that they are safe for the transport and storage of flammable and other hazardous materials. They are not food grade safe. For any D.I.Y projects that involve food, it is necessary that you get a new drum in order to avoid contamination. For those looking to use a drum to collect rain water for home and community gardens, we even carry reconditioned rain barrels that once held pickled vegetables.
The Cleaning Process Of Reconditioned Steel Drums
The cleaning process for reconditioned closed head steel drums involves first rinsing them out to remove any remaining contents inside. They are then submerged in a chemical bath, after which they are rinsed again and have any large dents removed. They go through a third rinse, where they are siphoned dry. Their drums and plugs are inspected and go through both a pressure and leak test. The insides are coated with a rust inhibitor, where they are given a final inspection before they are finally painted and dried.
For our reconditioned open head steel drums, the cleaning process is different than the one used for closed head drums. Open head drums instead go through a furnace first and then blasted to a clean surface. Then the drum has its dents removed and interior washed. An interior liner coat is applied, after which they are put through a steam flash oven and then a liner coat cure oven. The drum exterior coat is finally applied before the drum is assembled.
To see how our reconditioned steel drums are properly cleaned, check out our video about how the drum reconditioning process works!