Though we may not always realize it, above ground storage tanks (AST) provide an invaluable service for many industries across the country. Everything from liquid fertilizer and oil to industrial chemicals and water are stored in ASTs. Without them, it would be next-to-impossible to store and transport these materials for long periods of time. Most Americans probably don’t know what AST stands for but all Americans reap the benefits from them.
In order to maintain a healthy and function AST system, the government places strict guidelines on how to build and maintain these units. The oil and natural gas trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, is the leading organization of its kind in the U.S. and, as such, sets the industry standards for AST units. Above ground storage tank inspections are just one of the various requirements AST owners need to fulfill. Two codes in particular, API 650 and API 653, regulate AST unit construction and maintenance.
API 650 has gone through 12 editions and is the current standard that welded steel tank construction projects must abide by. It outlines detailed specifications for construction meant to guarantee stability and safety, collaborating with other sectors of the industry as well. One section, for example, required the welding of the tanks to follow the rules outlines by the manufactures Weld Procedure Specifications (WPS) and the Procedure Qualification Record (PQR). In addition, AST units are required to have a containment area surrounding it to protect against potential leaks or spills. The area must be able to hold 100% of the tank’s contents.
There are other requirements for steel storage tanks and they can get quite complicated. However, they are necessary for their function as well as for the safety of people near them. Especially when dealing with industrial chemicals or liquid fertilizer, safety is not something you want to second-guess.
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