An above-ground fuel tank can be a very convenient feature of your business. It allows you to purchase fuel in bulk for your fleet of vehicles, which often results in plenty of money saved. However, it’s essential that you not only follow all the federal, provincial, and local regulations governing such storage tanks but also that you maintain them to prevent safety hazards and to keep them free from water and contamination. You’ll also need to make all necessary repairs or arrange for a professional to do so when required.

In general, owning or managing an above-ground fuel storage tank means you always need to be on the lookout for things that may not be operating correctly and must maintain the tanks in the best conditions.

Above-Ground Fuel Tank Cleaning 

If the product inside is changed or altered, your storage tank needs to be cleaned. This helps prevent contamination from one product to another.

However, this can be quite a dangerous job. You should have a trained crew on hand or hire a company that’s skilled in this task. Here’s what needs to happen.

  • Entering the tank itself is the most dangerous part of above-ground fuel tank maintenance. As such, any team that does this must have proper training, certification, and insurance. This protects those entering the tank and the owner or client.
  • In addition, a daily on-site meeting should take place to review all safety issues and concerns. Furthermore, a site-specific health & safety plan should also be in place and followed and maintained at the worksite. This ensures the safety of the workers.
  • You should put blinds and blanks in place to ensure positive shut-off. Also, set up a decontamination area.
  • The crew MUST have the proper personal protective equipment for this job, rescue gear, and a supplied air (SCBA) system. Other necessary gear includes vacuum trucks, pressure washers, and confined space entry equipment. The crew will use the pressure washer to clean the floor and wall. Vacuum trucks will remove the water, rinse and sludge and then transport all waste to a licensed disposal location for recycling.
  • Throughout all this, a properly calibrated air monitoring system should be in place for measuring the atmosphere inside the tank to ensure it’s safe for the crew. You MUST vent the tank throughout the cleaning process.

Monitoring for contamination

It’s pretty easy for an above-ground tank to become contaminated when the lids are open. They’ll suck in all sorts of debris, causing a problem with the fuel stored inside. As such, you should take preventative measures year-round. Ask your fuel supplier or tank installation company how to prevent contamination.

Checking for water

Owners or managers of above-ground fuel storage systems should take periodic samples to determine if the tank has separated water. Then they will need to send the samples to a lab for analysis, and if water is present, you’ll have to remove it with a hose, and the tank will need to be cleaned (see above).

Training is essential!

Anyone who works around an above-ground fuel storage tank should be trained in the procedures that will keep them safe. It is also necessary for maintenance to happen at regular intervals as this will ensure the safety of anyone who works in the vicinity of the tanks, including those not responsible for maintenance. Eliminating risk is paramount!

If you prefer to refrain from training and certifying your staff to do these maintenance tasks independently, the professionals at Western Oil Services can handle maintenance for you. We have the most experienced team of service technicians in British Columbia, and we are training our next generation of techs through a new experience-based trade program.

We will stay in touch with you regarding your service and inspection needs and are readily available in emergencies or when you need essential repairs made promptly. We’ll also work closely with your schedule to ensure we do inspections and other routine maintenance on a timeline that fits your schedule.

For more information about installing and maintaining above-ground fuel tank storage tanks, call us at 604-514-4787.