Understanding Tank Inspection and its Critical Role in Above-Ground Storage Tank Maintenance

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Above-ground storage tanks are an essential component of many industries, responsible for the safe and efficient storage of materials ranging from fuel and water to chemicals and other substances. Regular tank inspections are fundamental in ensuring the longevity and performance of these vital assets, as they allow for the early detection and remediation of any emerging issues before they escalate into costly problems. In an increasingly competitive market and with ever-growing environmental concerns, understanding the significance of thorough and routine tank inspections is indispensable for businesses aiming to optimise their operations while maintaining regulatory compliance.

In this comprehensive and informative blog, we will delve into the world of tank inspection and its key role in the successful maintenance of above-ground storage tanks. We will explore different inspection methods and their respective advantages, along with some of the common issues that can be detected through expert inspections, including corrosion, leaks, and structural anomalies. Furthermore, we will elucidate the benefits of partnering with experienced professionals to ensure that your tank inspection processes adhere to the highest standards of safety, quality, and compliance.

By gaining a solid understanding of the importance of tank inspections, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions concerning the maintenance of your above-ground storage tanks and be ready to take the necessary steps to ensure their optimal performance and safety for years to come.

Types of Tank Inspection Methods

There are numerous inspection methods available for assessing the condition of above-ground storage tanks. Each method serves a specific purpose and is suited to different scenarios. Some of the most common inspection techniques include:

1. Visual inspections: Qualified inspectors conduct thorough external and internal visual examinations of the tank, looking for signs of corrosion, damage, leaks, and other issues. Visual inspections are a fundamental aspect of tank maintenance, typically carried out on a routine basis.

2. Ultrasonic testing: This non-destructive testing method uses ultrasonic waves to measure the thickness of the tank walls, helping to detect corrosion and potential weak points. Ultrasonic testing is particularly useful for monitoring the ongoing integrity of the tank structure.

3. Magnetic flux leakage (MFL) testing: MFL testing uses magnetic fields to identify areas of corrosion or thinning in ferromagnetic tank materials, providing accurate data on the condition of the tank walls and base.

4. Radiographic testing: This method involves using X-ray or gamma-ray technology to create images of the tank structure, assisting in the detection of cracks, corrosion, and other forms of damage.

Common Tank Issues Detected Through Inspections

Routine tank inspections enable early detection and remediation of numerous issues that can impact the safety, reliability, and efficiency of above ground storage tanks:

1. Corrosion: One of the primary causes of tank deterioration, corrosion can weaken the tank’s structure and lead to leaks or even tank failure if left unaddressed. Regular inspections help identify the early signs of corrosion, allowing for timely intervention and prevention of further damage.

2. Leaks: Inspections can detect leaks in the tank, which can result in the loss of valuable materials, environmental contamination, and potential safety hazards. Detecting and repairing leaks early is crucial in minimising their impact.

3. Structural anomalies: Inspectors can identify structural issues such as dents, bulges, or distortions in the tank walls, which can compromise the tank’s integrity and increase the risk of failure.

4. Seal and component failures: Inspections can also reveal problems with tank components, such as seals, valves, and fittings, allowing for timely repairs or replacements to be carried out.

The Role of Certified Professionals in Tank Inspection

Partnering with certified professionals for tank inspection services offers several advantages:

1. Expertise: Certified inspectors have undergone rigorous training and possess extensive knowledge of industry standards, allowing them to identify potential issues with accuracy and efficiency.

2. Compliance: Professional inspectors are well-versed in the regulatory requirements for tank maintenance and can ensure adherence to all relevant guidelines while providing thorough and accurate inspection reports.

3. Safety: Certified professionals have a deep understanding of the safety risks associated with above-ground storage tanks and are trained to conduct inspections in a manner that prioritises the safety of both the inspector and the facility.

4. Ongoing support: In addition to conducting inspections, we can provide guidance on necessary repairs and ongoing maintenance to ensure the optimal performance of your above-ground storage tanks.

Developing an Effective Tank Inspection Schedule

An effective tank inspection schedule is essential for maintaining the safety, efficiency, and longevity of your ASTs. Here are some tips for developing a robust inspection plan:

1. Prioritize regular visual inspections: Visual inspections should be conducted frequently, with more in-depth inspections scheduled at routine intervals to identify emerging issues before they escalate.

2. Tailor your inspection schedule to your tanks: Consider factors such as the materials stored, tank age, construction material, and environmental conditions to determine an appropriate inspection frequency for each tank.

3. Comply with regulatory requirements: Ensure your inspection schedule adheres to industry-specific guidelines and regulations to maintain compliance.

4. Monitor and adjust: Review the results of your inspections and adjust your schedule if necessary to address any ongoing or emerging issues.


The importance of regular tank inspections in maintaining the health, safety, and efficiency of your above-ground storage tanks cannot be overstated. By understanding the various inspection methods, the common issues that can be detected, and the benefits of partnering with certified professionals like ATM Tanks, you can develop a proactive tank maintenance strategy that maximises the lifespan and performance of your assets. In doing so, you will contribute to a safer and more efficient storage solution for your business and stay ahead of the competition in today’s demanding market.

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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