Containment Wall Replacement

I’m for sure out of my element on this and I honestly don’t know if this is the right spot to post this question, but here it goes:

We need to replace a block wall about 3 feet in height meant to act as tertiary containment for various storage and process tanks each with their own secondary containment areas. There was recently some damage done to the existing wall, but it is still standing, just not quite as it should be (some block layers shifted and leakage through the seams). The mason we regularly use gave us a few options including trying to repair the existing wall or a couple options for new walls with the option to either remove or leave the existing wall in place.

My immediate thought was:

If the existing wall is damaged, rather than lend some additional support to a new wall, in case of an event where the wall is needed to contain a spill, the older, compromised wall would only collapse that much easier and add to the load applied to the new wall

Am I correct in thinking that and the best option would be to construct a new, reinforced wall and remove the old wall, or would leaving the old wall to act as a “first barrier” actually help lessen the load on the new wall in the case of a spill event?

I’m definitely bit out of my area on this, so if the info I provided is too sparse to comment or if I’m not making any sense, I’d appreciate any feedback.

Can you grout fill the wall after it’s repaired?


I know he mentioned placing rebar supports in the wall as part of a repair, but I wasn’t present at the time so I am getting this info secondhand at the moment. The contractor is supposed to be making another visit soon so I can speak with him.

I would assume grout filling is an option, but I’m just wondering if leaving the existing wall in place without repairing it is just asking for trouble down the road.

When I heard them say putting a new wall behind it and leaving the compromised wall in place was an option my mind immediately went to: Well that would add a not-insignificant amount of weighted projectile to the mix if a serious spill were to occur

It should be inspected and repaired prior to filling.


“Am I correct in thinking that and the best option would be to construct a new, reinforced wall and remove the old wall…”

Probably, but there always are complications. What type foundation does the old wall have?

Perhaps it’s own independent footing? Then the new wall could have an independent footing, too.

Or is it sitting on a concrete containment slab that keeps spilled chemical out of the soil? If old wall is on a containment slab, does the slab extend far enough horizontally for the new wall?

How large a tank? The foundation could be a strip type footing or could be a slab. If the tank base founded on a sand base? and is the wall part of the tank support? Do you have any drawings or a cross-section?


The wall is a perimeter wall, tertiary containment in case of secondary containment failure, in a downslope collection/drainage area for a large concreted outdoor area. The current wall is basic cinder block with sealant coating right now without any grout filling. It is set into the current slab with not much extra horizontal face.

We’ve decided to remove the existing wall and have a brand new, better reinforced block wall put in it’s place. I will confirm the details with the contractor next week, but I think this is the least complicated and most logical course for us in this area.

Thanks… Replacement is generally better than repair.


Thanks to both @dik and @SlideRuleEra for the comments, questions, and discussion.