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New IEEE Standard on Electrolyte Spill Control

Hal Taylor

Steve McCluer

A new document, IEEE Std 1578 - IEEE Recommended Practice for Stationary Battery Electrolyte Spill Containment and Management, is expected to be published in 2007. The standard was created to meet the industry’s need for common or standard practices in the design of battery spill containment systems and the proper handling of unintentionally-released electrolyte. The document addresses various types of battery electrolytes and their associated hazards. Some new terms are introduced. A distinction is made between electrolyte spill “control” and spill “management.” Guidelines are provided for when a spill containment system is or is not appropriate. Several tables detail various spill mechanisms and their appropriate response, such as accidents in transportation & storage, installation & removal, maintenance, and general operation. Guidelines are provided with the pros and cons of various spill containment and spill management techniques. The document is intended as an authoritative guide for people who write and enforce Fire and Building Codes. This paper will give some background on the need for such a standard and its evolution from concept to standard.

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