Dealing with the aftermath of releasing a toxic substance into the environment is a company owner’s worst nightmare. But it’s an undisputed fact that tanks and pipes do leak. To avoid cracked or worn out equipment damage risks, you should have your tanks and pipes inspected routinely. Not only does this protect your facility but it also provides invaluable peace of mind and cost savings. In many states, inspectors are required to follow specific guidelines.
Per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling, tanks used to store petroleum products and other types of oils are regulated primarily under Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 112. The regulation includes the term “bulk storage container,” defined as a container 55 gallons or larger and located “aboveground, partially buried, bunkered or completely buried.”
Regular inspections prevent tank and pipe failure
You should have tanks and piping as well as devices that are in place to prevent spills and overfilling inspected regularly for signs of corrosion. This inspection process is critical in order to prevent future catastrophic failure.
When inspections are required
According to EPA regulations, facility personnel must inspect tanks regularly “for signs of deterioration, discharges, or accumulation of oil inside diked areas.”
Inspection frequency and types depend on many factors, including container contents, size, and type (e.g., floating roof, skid mounted, elevated, partially buried).
For more information on tank inspection requirements, refer to EPA Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC) Program Bulk Storage Container Inspection Fact Sheet and Chapter 7 of the SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors.
Be sure to have a qualified, certified, and properly trained contractor perform your inspection services.
Cost effective preventive maintenance
Although it does require time and money to take a tank or piping system out of service for inspection, you can consider the resources spent preventive insurance expenses. When compared to the cost of a catastrophic release due to pipe or tank failure, the routine inspection costs are only a drop in the proverbial bucket.
In addition, having a preventive maintenance program in place ensures system efficiency and early problem detection — before issues turn into costly repairs or equipment replacements. But above all, it means your facility won’t require an operation shutdown, which could invariably lead to much greater revenue losses.