How to appropriately inspect and maintain your storage tank

Whichever type of tank you invest in from Tuffa, we’re committed to ensuring that your tank ownership experience is as trouble-free as possible. Nonetheless, there remain certain tasks that need to be carried out by way of inspection and maintenance if your investment is to continue to perform well for a long time to come, as well as stay in compliance with the law.

The following guidance applies to static liquid storage tanks, thermoplastic, thermoset and steel tanks with a head equal to the height of the product used, or in other words, where no pressures are induced on the tank. For any tank that is purchased, there are certain legal requirements to consider, covered in more detail in HSE Guidance note PM86. The fuel or water storage tank should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as well as British Standards BS5410 Parts 1 and 2 and HSE guidelines.

The inspection of an in service open bunded tank by a competent person should encompass such elements as the fill point arrangement, outlet valves, contents gauge, any high level/overfill alarm and bund alarm. If you can see the vents on the tank, you should ensure that they are clear and unblocked, with no debris, while your visual inspection of the tank should be particularly focused on its base. Owners of plastic tanks should look for signs of deformation on the tank’s surface, whether in the form of crazing, stress fractures, excessive bulging or the change in colour that would result from a chemical attack.

If your tank is a steel one, meanwhile, the competent person should be vigilant for evidence of rust and heavy corrosion, seam fractures and seam damp patches. Irrespective of whether your tank is a plastic or steel one, you should visually inspect the bund for indications of water, spilt product or debris, and to ensure general soundness and integrity. This inspection should be undertaken by the competent person receiving a delivery of product, both before and during the actual fill – and if there is no responsible person available at the point of delivery, then the inspection will need to be undertaken as early as possible after the filling.

The delivery location may be unmanned, making it necessary for the delivery driver to be informed of certain elements of the aforementioned inspection requirements for your tank. Your tank may be a fully enclosed bunded tank, in which case, the close proximity of the bund and inner tank can make visual inspection difficult. However, you will need to ensure that the alarm still functions correctly as part of this inspection, with the inner tank likely to be sound if an alarm sequence has not been previously activated.

Peruse Tuffa’s extensive guide to installation and maintenance for more information on this subject area, including on design life inspections and internal examination and cleaning, for our full range of tanks – from rainwater tanks to heating oil tanks.

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