Proper Care and Construction of Storage Tanks


Storage of items and materials is just as important as producing them, and modern storage solutions vary from plastic bottles and jugs all the way to warehouses and metal drums to underground liquid storage tanks. What might be stored underground in such a tank, and why? Farmers may contain pesticides and irrigation water in there, and public utilities may use these tanks for storing potable water for human use. Other tanks might store corrosive chemicals or sewage. These tanks may vary in their size and their contents, but what’s similar about them is that to safely contain chemicals, one must install chemical liners, custom linings, or even chromium plating. Custom water tanks need proper lining, too. What is there to know about how to safely contain chemicals, and how these tanks might be built and used? To safely contain chemicals is to avoid disaster.

Store It Underground

A number of tanks are stored underground for purposes of saving room on the surface, and to help contain a leak or rupture in case the tank fails. There are industry standards and regulations on how to store a tank underground and how to maintain it, and any responsible tank owner will know to get their hardware inspected or repaired if need be. This may help them safely contain chemicals and prevent leaks, corrosion, or any other problem that may cost them money and also harm the environment. Many chemicals being stored in tanks would cause devastation if they leaked out, so regular inspection of hardware and tank linings can help prevent such disaster. On average, an underground tank may be expected to last 20 years oir so, but the particular construction, installation, and soil conditions may affect the lifespan for better or worse. This certainly includes maintenance too, as a neglected tank may start breaking down or leaking. Having a storage tank means staying on top of its upkeep.

The EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, has some regulations and codes for underground tanks for preventing chemical leaks, but smaller tanks are exempt. By EPA guidelines, underground tanks with a storage capacity of 110 gallons or under are not subject to these federal regulations. Similarly, farm and residential storage tanks with a capacity of 1,00 gallons or under of motor fuel (for non-commercial purposes) are not subject to federal guidelines, either. Meanwhile, the American federal government has officially defined an underground storage tank, or a UST, as any tank or system of tanks, and their connected piping with at least 10% of their combined volume underground.

What might be put in these tanks, and how are they built? Steel is a common material, and it is durable and will not be subject to extremes of temperature or pressure that may warp or break it down. In fact, steel has been used for storing and transporting water for over 150 years, an endeavor that carries over to the present day. It should be noted, though, that steel alone won’t do the job. Tanks need proper lining in them, and such lining should be designed to handle the tank’s contents even after prolonged exposure. Such contents range from potable water for public utilities all the way to corrosive chemicals, oil, or even waste water from homes. The right lining will get the job done.

In the case of potable water for human use, every such tank must have protective coatings and lining in it, and such protective surfaces should be regularly checked and replaced if need be. After all, a public health issue may arise if these linings fail and contaminants, organic or not, got into the water supply. Bacteria and viruses, harmful microorganisms, particles of metal or dirt, and more must be kept clear of the water in such a tank, so the lining will protect the water from such hazards. For other tanks, the lining has the opposite purpose: protect the tank, and the surrounding soil, from the contents. Corrosive and acidic liquids may do a lot of harm of they leak or touch the tank’s bare metal body, so tough lining will be engineered and installed to act as a barrier. The tank’s lifetime will last longer when the lining is replaced as needed.