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Fuel must be stored for future use, which requires special tanks to hold that fuel in a safe and efficient manner.
Here are some questions often asked about these large and potentially hazardous containers!
What is the purpose of a fuel tank?
A fuel tank is a container for storing or holding gases or liquids. The substances may be gaseous, liquid, pressurized, non-pressurized, cryogenic (deeply cold), volatile, etc. A tank can be manufactured of metal or other materials. Metal tanks are either riveted or welded in order to hold the gas, and are fitted with a soft material, typically rubber or neoprene gaskets.
Are there different types of fuel storage tanks?
Yes. A fuel storage tank can be divided into two general categories: (1) bulk storage tanks, which store large quantities of liquid fuel for distribution to various consumers; and (2) service station tanks, which are smaller in size and generally used for retail fueling applications.
What are the various classifications of underground tanks?
There are two basic classifications:
- Metal construction (usually steel): This type is suitable where temperatures range from the low 100s to the mid-40s.
- Fiberglass: This type is suitable where temperatures range from the upper 40s to the high 90s .
What factors should be considered in the construction of fuel tanks?
Metal tanks present several factors to consider when determining whether they can be installed in your facility.
The first factor is what type of metal will be used for the construction of the tank. For example, if you want to install a storage tank at your facility, check with your state and local agencies for any restrictions regarding the types of metal that can be used. In most cases, steel is an acceptable material.
The second factor is whether there are any other codes or regulations during installation, such as structural support requirements, tank supports embedded in the floor, elevated risers for pumping, secondary containment (to protect other equipment like piping and pumps), cathodic protection (if metal tanks are installed to prevent rusting), etc.
How do I size a fuel storage tank?
The sizing of underground storage tanks depends on many factors that must be considered when designing the tank system. The first step is to determine how much fuel will be stored in the tank. This can range up to millions of gallons depending on your specific needs. Once you know the required volume, it's easy to choose a tank that meets your needs.
Are fuel tanks above or underground?
Fuel tanks can be either above or underground. Generally, fuel is stored in some sort of tank where it is held until it's needed for distribution to various consumers.
How are underground storage tanks (USTs) regulated?
USTs are subject to regulation through the Underground Injection Control program under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
One of the most common questions about underground storage tanks is whether they are subject to regulation by both federal and state agencies. The answer is yes. However, states have some flexibility in how they administer their programs.
How often do fuel storage tanks need to be inspected?
Fuel storage tanks are inspected by a qualified technician in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30 standard. This rating system establishes inspection frequencies based on tank size and type of fuel stored, among other factors.
Frequency of inspections depends on what is being stored inside the tank. Inspections should be conducted at least every three years for motor fuel, and every year for diesel fuel.
What is involved in the inspection of a fuel storage tank?
A detailed inspection of a fuel storage tank is conducted by qualified technicians, who check to ensure that the tank was installed according to design specifications. The inspection takes into account all conditions surrounding the installation including but not limited to soil type, flow direction and velocity, rainfall patterns, presence of underground utilities (e.g., gas lines or cables), etc.
What is an API 653 inspection?
API 653 inspection of fuel storage tanks ensures compliance with the American Petroleum Institute's latest code requirements. This code outlines new regulations for all above ground and underground petroleum storage tank systems, such as secondary containment and corrosion protection among others.
The goal is to ensure that your facility is protected from leaks or spills, which can pose a public safety hazard. API 653 inspections are conducted by a qualified, experienced company that can provide you with documentation to demonstrate compliance should your tank system be inspected by another agency.
What is an API 650 inspection?
The API 650 inspection ensures compliance with the American Petroleum Institute's latest code requirements. This code outlines new regulations for all above ground and underground petroleum storage tank systems, such as containment and corrosion protection among others.
The goal is to ensure that your facility is protected from leaks or spills, which can pose a public safety hazard. API inspections are conducted by a qualified, experienced company that can provide you with documentation to demonstrate compliance if your tank system is inspected by another agency.
What is the difference between API 650 and 620?
API 650 is an aboveground storage tank inspection intended to ensure compliance with the American Petroleum Institute's latest code requirements. API 620 is a different type of code that applies to underground storage tanks.
What type of certification does my facility need?
The key component in the process for ensuring your fuel storage facility is compliant with all federal and state regulations depends on ensuring all contractors working on site are appropriately licensed and insured. The company you work with should have a proven track record of providing on-time inspections, as well as prompt and effective reporting on any issues they identify.
In order to confirm this for yourself, ask the service provider what types of documentation their customers receive. In addition, customers should be provided with a detailed report from the inspection so that they can make any necessary repairs.
There should also be a follow-up assessment conducted within 30 days of the inspection to ensure compliance with all codes and regulations . Also, the service provider should include an agreement in their proposal that includes a warranty for work performed and certification upon completion. Putting these elements together will help give your facility peace of mind that you're fully meeting all federal and state regulations.
How long do fuel storage tanks last?
Fuel storage tanks have a service life that is dependent on the material they are constructed of, as well as other factors. For example, steel tanks experience corrosion over time. By performing an annual inspection you can ensure your tank will be usable for several more years .
What happens if my fuel storage tank fails?
If by chance your fuel storage tank fails and causes a release, the entire site will be impacted and appropriate action needs to be taken. A fuel storage tank has the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater around the area of release. In addition, odors from spilled fuel can impact people who live or work nearby .
For this reason it's important that your company is working with a reputable and knowledgeable service provider who will address all issues that surface during an inspection in a timely manner, help you determine the cause of the issue and provide guidance on how to repair it.
Are fuel storage tanks subject to corrosion?
Steel storage tanks are subject to corrosion. When steel is in contact with soil and water, it creates rust which can lead to full tank failure .
What causes fuel storage tank corrosion?
Fuel storage tanks are subject to corrosion. When steel is in contact with soil and water, it creates rust which can lead to full tank failure .
In addition, the inside of a fuel storage tank also has the potential to corrode if moisture is present and allowed to stagnate for extended periods of time. This can trigger an environmental release as well.
What is the effect of corrosion in fuel storage tanks?
The impact of corrosion on your fuel storage tank depends largely on the location of the tank and if it is above or below ground. For example, an underground storage tank that corrodes will start to leak.
Aboveground steel tanks are subject to "localized" corrosion which can lead to small holes in the tank over time . These holes can lead to fuel leaks if the tank isn't inspected regularly.
How do you treat corrosion in fuel storage tanks?
In some cases, local rust and corrosion on the exterior of your steel storage tank can be treated through a process called cathodic protection . This process involves running an electrical current to the outside of your tank which creates a protective barrier so that oxygen is not present for rust to form.
What methods can prevent corrosion in fuel storage tanks?
The best way to prevent corrosion in fuel storage tanks is to have them inspected regularly by a qualified, experienced company that can provide documentation of compliance if your tank system is inspected. In addition, there are protective coatings available for steel tanks as well as several other types of materials used as fuel storage tanks .
What protective coatings can prevent corrosion in fuel storage tanks?
It is important that coatings for fuel storage tanks are federally approved and specifically designed to protect against rusting, which means the steel will be protected from corrosion. The most common protective coating used on steel tanks is epoxy .
What are the 4 elements of protective coatings for metal?
There are four main ingredients found in protective coatings for metal tanks: resins, solvents, pigments and additives. The resins provide the strength, while the other three components contribute to corrosion resistance .
How can I keep my fuel storage tanks operating safely?
There are several steps you can take to ensure your fuel storage tanks continue working properly. Regular inspections by qualified professionals should be conducted on an annual basis . This will help determine if there are any issues with the tank and how it is positioned in relation to soil, water, and other elements.
The best way to know for certain if your fuel storage tanks are functioning properly is to have them inspected on an annual basis by a qualified professional . You can then use that report to identify any problems with the tank itself and figure out the best solution to fix it.
In addition to yearly inspections, companies should have a contingency plan in place that will be activated if there is an issue with any of their fuel storage tanks . This should outline the process for notifying all appropriate stakeholders at your company and localizing issues quickly to minimize damage from spills.
Can you prevent corrosion in fuel storage tanks?
Preventing corrosion in fuel storage tanks is possible using cathodic protection . This process places anodes with a negative charge around the tank that will corrode before the steel , thereby protecting it.
Is paint an effective way to prevent fuel storage tank corrosion?
Paint is not an effective way to prevent corrosion of your fuel storage tank . There are some coatings that can reduce its effects, however you will never be able to fully stop corrosion from occurring.
What kind of paint should I use on a fuel storage tank?
There is no one answer for this question as it varies based on the manufacturer's specifications . You will need to check with your tank's manufacturer to determine the type of paint that is recommended.