Best Practices to Reduce Corrosion in Above-Ground Storage Tanks

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Corrosion in above-ground storage tanks can jeopardise their structural integrity, compromise their contents, and lead to costly repairs or replacements. As a result, implementing best practices to reduce corrosion is crucial for maintaining tank performance and extending its life. In this article, ATM Tanks will delve into effective corrosion reduction strategies for above-ground storage tanks to help you protect your investment and maintain the quality of stored materials. We will discuss protective measures such as coatings and liners, as well as the importance of regular inspections and comprehensive maintenance programs that aim to prevent tank degradation. By incorporating these best practices, you can minimise downtime, avoid expensive repairs and replacements, and ensure the ongoing safety and efficiency of your storage tank system.

Choosing the Right Protective Coatings

Initial protection for above-ground storage tanks starts with selecting the right protective coating. These coatings serve as a barrier between the tank material and corrosive elements, thereby reducing degradation and prolonging the tank’s lifespan. When deciding on a coating, consider factors such as the tank material, environmental conditions, and the type of substance stored within the tank. Common protective coatings include epoxy coatings, polyurethane coatings, and zinc-rich primers, each with its unique advantages and applications.

Epoxy coatings provide excellent adhesion, durability, and corrosion resistance, making them suitable for various applications and environments. Polyurethane coatings are known for their resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and abrasion, while zinc-rich primers provide galvanic protection, in which zinc acts as a sacrificial anode to protect the underlying steel.

It’s essential to consult a coating specialist to select the most appropriate coating for your specific tank and application.

Implementing High-Quality Tank Liners

In addition to protective coatings, tank liners can significantly reduce corrosion in above-ground storage tanks. Tank liners serve as an additional barrier to protect the tank material from corrosive substances stored within and external environmental conditions. Common tank liner materials include PVC, polyolefins, and butyl rubber, each with specific characteristics that cater to unique storage requirements.

PVC liners offer excellent chemical resistance and durability, making them suitable for storing a variety of substances. Polyolefin liners, including polyethylene and polypropylene variants, provide outstanding flexibility and stress-crack resistance, making them a great choice for tanks that undergo frequent temperature and pressure fluctuations. Butyl rubber liners excel in applications with a high risk of punctures and abrasions due to their robust, puncture-resistant nature.

To ensure maximum corrosion protection, work with a specialist to select the most suitable tank liner for your specific needs and application.

Regular Inspections to Detect Early Signs of Corrosion

Conducting regular inspections of your above-ground storage tank is critical to identifying early signs of corrosion and implementing timely corrective measures. These inspections should be carried out by experienced professionals familiar with various tank types, materials, and corrosion identification methods, such as visual inspections, ultrasonic thickness testing, and magnetic particle testing.

Regular inspections not only allow you to detect and address corrosion issues early but also provide an opportunity to assess the condition of protective coatings and liners. Damaged or worn coatings and liners can leave your tank susceptible to corrosion, requiring repair or replacement to maintain the integrity of your tank system. By establishing a routine tank inspection schedule, you can proactively manage corrosion risks and extend the life of your storage tank.

Comprehensive Maintenance Programs for Corrosion Control

Developing a comprehensive maintenance program is essential for mitigating corrosion in above-ground storage tanks. This program should be tailored to your specific tank type, material, and application, addressing potential vulnerabilities and corrosion risks unique to your storage system. Key elements of an effective maintenance program include:

1. Regular cleaning and debris removal: Keeping your tank clean, both internally and externally, helps prevent the build-up of contaminants that could contribute to corrosion. Inspect and clean your tank according to manufacturer recommendations and industry best practices.

2. Cathodic protection: Implement cathodic protection systems to counteract corrosion, such as galvanic anodes or impressed current systems. These systems provide electrochemical protection, reducing the rate of corrosion by making the tank surface less anodic.

3. Monitoring environmental conditions: Keep an eye on the environment surrounding your tank, as temperature fluctuations, moisture, and the presence of corrosive agents can accelerate corrosion. Consider installing environmental monitoring equipment, such as humidity sensors, to track changes that could impact your tank’s integrity.

4. Protective equipment maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain the integrity of protective coatings and liners, ensuring they remain in good condition and effectively prevent corrosion. Schedule timely repairs or replacements as necessary.

5. Staff training: Educate personnel responsible for tank maintenance and operations about best practices for corrosion control, inspection techniques, and the importance of proactive maintenance. Well-trained staff will be more likely to identify and address corrosion risks early in the process.

By implementing a comprehensive maintenance program tailored to your specific tank and application, you can effectively manage corrosion risks and ensure the ongoing performance and safety of your above-ground storage tank.

Safeguard Your Storage Tank Investment with Proactive Corrosion Control

In conclusion, effectively managing corrosion in above-ground storage tanks involves choosing the right protective coatings and liners, conducting regular inspections, and implementing a comprehensive, proactive maintenance program tailored to your specific tank and application. By adopting these best practices, you can extend the life of your storage tank, protect its contents, and minimise operational disruptions and costly repairs or replacements.

At ATM Tanks, we are committed to helping you safeguard your storage tank investment. Our team of experts can provide guidance on selecting the most suitable coatings and tank liners, perform thorough inspections, and design a customised maintenance program to keep your tank in optimal condition. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our comprehensive range of tank maintenance solutions that cater to your unique needs and requirements.

Aaron James
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About The Author

Aaron James
Aaron has been working at ATM Tanks for the past 5 years. He has completed a wide range of projects across Australia including new tank builds, cleaning and servicing existing tanks and countless tank inspections. However he has excelled recently at project management for ATM Tanks.

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