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How To Establish And Maintain Your On-Site Fuel Tanks

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
fuel storage tanks and monitoring

There are several advantages to storing your fuel on-site. It allows you to buy fuel in bulk, so you don’t have to wait for suppliers to drive to your site. You will also know how much fuel is being used and exactly how much it costs. But, to install and maintain fuel tanks, you must follow federal, state, and local regulations. Also, you are required to keep them free from contaminants like water.

Some businesses, like construction companies, cycle through fuel so fast that water and bacterial buildup don’t become a significant problem. However, for other companies, these contaminants can become a problem. This is why following proper maintenance and installation procedures is vital.

The basics of reliable tank design

For construction fleets, above-ground storage tanks are usually the best option. Some of their advantages include being easily painted (which protects them from the elements) and inspected. Leaks are less likely to happen and you can easily move them to other areas as needed.

Some drawbacks to above-ground fuel tanks include their vulnerability to damage, like vehicles backing into them. Also, above-ground storage tanks are vulnerable to vandals who might damage them or steal fuel. Finally, these tanks are at risk of extreme weather like high winds, and flooding. So, depending on your situation, above-ground may or may not be the right choice for you.

Underground storage tanks are another option your company can use to store fuel. These containers are usually connected through piping systems and are often used by fleets, municipalities, and individuals. They are not as vulnerable to damage as above-ground tanks. But, these tanks can leak if not maintained, which can cause serious environmental problems. Federal government regulations are strict for those who have these tanks. But, following them will help protect your tanks and the environment.

Know the laws about your storage tanks

Before installing on-site fuel tanks, make sure you study your local zoning laws, state regulations, and federal rules. The following are a few suggestions from Purdue University. You can also visit the EPA’s website to learn more about the laws and regulations to maintain fuel tanks.

First, if you choose a tank for outdoor use, it should have an outdoor-use designation issued by Underwriters Listed. Second, you can’t use basement storage containers for outdoor use. Third, if your fuel tank is designed to hold flammable liquids like gasoline, it should be vaulted or fire-guarded. This will prevent the fuel from igniting for at least two hours in the event of a fire.

Fourth, you should have a secondary containment area that has the capacity to hold the contents of the primary tank if it fails. Some experts recommend the area be rated to hold 125 percent of the primary tank. Fifth, the secondary site should be double-walled or have a dike or bathtub. Finally, tank refills pose a spill risk, so you should limit them to once a month at least. If you need your fuel supplier to deliver more often, you should have more tanks.

Monitoring fuel tank contamination

One of the major things you should watch for occurs when you open the tank for fueling. When you open the tank, it acts as a vacuum, sucking up dirt, dust, and other debris into it. To manage this problem, you need to use treatments to prevent corrosion, gelling, and plugging. You should also install micron filters on distribution trucks.

You should also periodically test the water content in your fuel using a test kit. There are a variety of kits that can analyze water content and assess the presence of separated water. If you detect separated water, you should work to remove it as soon as possible. You can clean your tanks using a PVC pipe and electric pump to suck out contaminants from the bottom of the tank. You should also schedule regular fuel inspections and tests as part of your preventative maintenance plan. This will help you comply with state, local, and federal laws.

Risk management

All of your employees who work with fuel tanks should be trained to identify risks and avoiding them. Your employees should also be familiar with inspections, tests, and procedures to operate the pump safely, as well as emergency shutoff protocols. Also, they should be trained on how to contain spills, conduct cleanup operations, and safely operate all equipment associated with the fuel tanks. They should be involved in the maintenance and review of your equipment as well.

Wholesale fuel products and services

At Kendrick Oil, we distribute a wide variety of fuels, including diesel and regular gas. If your business is in need of bulk fuel or if you have any questions about any of our Products and Services, give us a call at (800) 299-3991. You can also Contact Us by email for more information. We have locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Louisiana.