Above Ground Fuel Tanks: How to Prevent Water Resources Contamination
Fuel tanks can be above ground or underground, depending on its application on the facility. An above ground fuel tank usually use a stand or a tripod as its supporting structure, while some of these tanks are bunkered or partially buried on the ground. Farms, factories, and many other industries use fuel tanks to store petroleum products for their operations.
Above ground fuel tanks are much safer to use than the underground fuel tanks because they are easier to maintain and check for any leakage and corrosion that may harm the environment. Leakage from fuel tanks can be very dangerous to the environment. Even the smallest drop of leak can cause contamination of water resources, and also endanger the lives of people, animals, plants around. Fuel spills can accumulate in the soil and rainwater can carry it to water resources. A small drop of fuel can destroy a huge body of water and can wipe out an entire aquatic habitat. Furthermore, it can pollute the water source for livelihood consumption especially for drinking.
However, proper monitoring is still very important because the fuel tanks are still prone to have spillage and other accidents. Since the tank contains a hazardous substance, extra care and attention is needed. Watch out for piping system failures, holes caused corrosion, equipment failure, overfills, and even personnel mistakes.
Consider the Location
When installing an above ground fuel tank, consider the distance of the site to water sources including wells, streams, ponds, rivers and sewers. The tank must be set-up away from these water sources. Also consider other factors such as volume of material stored, drainage patterns, distance to surface water and weather conditions. In severe weather conditions as in a storm, can you be sure that any spilled liquid will not flow directly to any water source?
Choose the area carefully where you will install the fuel tank. Make sure it is away from water resources such as sea, rivers, streams, ponds, wells, and sewers. Read the standards to consider the distance of the fuel tank and water source. Consider other factors such as patterns of drainage, the amount of fuel contained, and weather conditions. Make certain that the area is not prone to floods as well.
Follow the standard in refilling the tank, and make sure that your personnel is also aware of this. It is crucial that you fill the tank up to its holding capacity only. This is a basic procedure to prevent spillage. As much as possible, choose bunded tanks because these tanks have double steel walls, which are designed specifically to contain any possible leakage. This double-walled tank prevents spillage and it also provides protection from corrosion.
Monitor the Tank Regularly
Regular monitoring of the fuel tank is necessary to ensure that there is no leakage. Through routine monitoring, the tank will also be checked if there is any corrosion or early signs of damage. Fittings, seals, and linings must be inspected by an engineer to make sure everything is secure and in place. Periodic inspection must also be implemented.
Clean the Tank and the Premises Regularly
Keep the tank and the premises clean. Make sure there are no debris, dirt and other stuff that could obstruct the pathway for cleaning and maintenance. Collect any rain water that might have accumulated in the tank.
Make Sure to Meet the Australian Regulations and Standards
Ultimately, follow the guidelines set by the authorities to ensure safety of usage and prevention of water resources contamination.