The Dos and Don’ts in Tank Storage


Storage tank company

Storage tang construction can be a tricky business.  There are a lot of regulations that need to be followed.

Above Ground Storage Tank Regulations 

  • Above ground storage tanks (ASTs) are required to have secondary containers that wrap around the tank and can hold everything that is inside of it.
  • ASTs that can hold 1,000 gallons of oil or 10,000 gallons of virgin oil need to go to the Oil Control Program to get operations permits.
  • If an AST is made of steel and can hold more than 1,1000 gallons, it needs some sort of corrosion protection on the bottom.
  • For the secondary compartment, if impermeable materials are used in its construction, inspectors need to look at it once a week.  All others must be inspected ever 72 hours.
  • Any tank that is used for more than 30 days and less than a year is classified as temporary.
  • Any spill or leak from an AST of more than five gallons of any petroleum product or hazardous substance must be reported.

Reasons for the Strict Regulations

There have been issues with certain tanks that resulted in the regulations on storage tank construction and inspection.  Some have been:

  • In March 2015 a Washington State creek was flooded with 1,500 gallons of used motor old from a leak in an AST.  The creek fed directly into the Yakima River.  The old also covered more than 50 ducks, geese and other waterfowl.
  • Floods in Colorado in September 2013 caused a spill of more than 48,000 gallons of oil and 43,000 gallons of produced water.  As a consequence, all old wells have to be updates with a shut in capability and secondary containment unit by April 2016.  Newer oil storage tanks need to meet those standards by later this summer.

While no problems have been reported yet, Oklahoma has had record numbers of earthquakes measuring over 3.0 on the Richter Scale and most experts think this might be tied to fracking.  According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, in 2014, the state was averaging 14 such earthquakes a day.  This makes the methods used for storage tank construction even more critical as so much oil is stored in the state.

Storage Tank Construction

Given all the regulations involved and the problems that can arise, it is critical that the construction be done correctly.  Larger tanks are constructed on site and called “field erected tanks,” they typically can hold more than 50,000 gallons.  Welded carbon and stainless steel are the best materials for ASTs.  To make sure the storage tank construction is done to code, it is vital that you select an experienced steel tank erection company.  They can make sure your tank is right for what you need to store in it.

Determine The Appropriate Coating For Your Tank 

There are many benefits to coating an AST on the inside and out.  This will help prevent corrosion. It will also prevent you from having to repair tanks damaged by corrosion.

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