There are a lot of rules and regulations on above ground storage tanks (AST). Recent incidents of spills and leaks has only added to that. Colorado flooding in 2013 caused more than 48,000 gallons of oil and 43,000 gallons of produced water were spilled. In March 2015, more than 1,500 gallons of used motor oil from an aboveground storage tank leaked into the Yakima River. More than 50 geese, ducks and other waterfowl were covered in oil from the March spill. ASTs that contain liquids being stored at atmospheric pressure have design code as API standard 650 and 620.
Tips for picking steel storage tanks for liquid
- Look for quality. Steel storage tanks can be made to store a variety of liquids. Liquid fertilizer tanks are common but they can be used for chemical, fuel or potable water. The construction needs to be flawless as any leaks or other problems can lead to expensive repairs or problems with regulations. If any tank leaks five gallons or more of any petroleum product or any amount of a hazardous liquid, it must be reported immediately. It is much easier to prevent leaks than to contain them. If you are looking for a API standard 650 tank, make sure you are buying one that meets that standard.
- Look at the regulations for what you are storing. Different substances have different regulations for their storage. The rules governing grey water differ than for potable water. Different areas have different rules as well. After the spill in March, Colorado set new standards for storage tanks in that state, for instance. API standard 650 applies primarily to petroleum products (though it can apply to other liquids) but people and companies looking to store at this standard should check on how often the tanks need to be inspected.
- Does your liquid need anything special? You may need a certain kind of lining or other tailor made options for your steel storage tanks.
- Where are you located? Different regions have different challenges. Oklahoma experiences an average of 14 earthquakes a day. If you will be storing liquids in that state you should consider how much it will cost to repair tanks damaged by tornadoes or earthquakes as it is also in a tornado prone area.
Some regulations pertain to all ASTs, regardless of if they are API standard 651 or not. They all are required to have a secondary compartment that surrounds the tank and can hold all of its contents, for example. Any secondary containment unit that is made of a impermeable material needs to be checked weekly. Others have to be checked every three days.
The nature of liquid storage, whether it is a hazardous substance or not, is tightly regulated. Repairing an AST can be costly. Doing the proper research and getting the right tank will save a lot of time and money later. It will also give the AST owners and everyone else some peace of mind knowing the tanks are the highest quality.