Above-Ground Storage Tank: Keeping its Structural Integrity

Storage TanksAbove-ground storage tanks have to be structurally sound to prevent an oil spill. This form of pollution is costly to control and can cause great damage to marine organisms and even humans. It’s every owner’s responsibility to keep their tanks up to standards.

Basic Recommended Procedures    

Frequent tank inspections remain the top recommendation. Both the inspection tests and the qualifications of the inspector have to be at par with industry standards, which in this case is under the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan Program.

A professional engineer can determine which industry standards are applicable, especially since SPCC mandates that the plan must be based on good engineering practices.

That points to the next most important recommendation: types of tests and frequency of inspections. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “It takes into account container size, configuration, and design such as shop-built, skid-mounted, field erected, elevated containers, to name a few.”

Meanwhile, the recommended integrity tests look at the following features of bulk tanks:

  • visual
  • acoustic emissions
  • ultrasonic
  • hydrostatic
  • radiographic

Inspection is also especially recommended every time repairs are made. One type of testing that is normally made on tanks that had major repairs is hydrostatic testing. Sometimes, a combination of other types of non-destructive testing may apply.

Heartlandtankservices.com says the API Standard 653 addresses inspection, repair, and relocation of field-erected steel storage tanks. Bulk storage containers at elevated temperatures can also follow this standard, as per EPA.

Additional Tips

EPA also recommends observing the following steps:

  • Facility owners must take note of inspection results and make comparison records for reference.
  • Constant inspection of container’s foundation and support
  • Regular inspection of the container’s outside portion to check for signs of deterioration
  • Meet the record-keeping requirements for information gathered during inspections and testing

Facility owners have to follow these basic recommended procedures not only for efficient business operations and safe business practices but also to satisfy communal and environmental responsibilities.