An underground storage tank (UST) is defined as a storage tank with underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. National and provincial regulations for these tanks apply to USTs storing petroleum, including biofuel blends, and certain hazardous substances.

If you own or operate an underground storage tank, you understand how important it is to maintain it so that leaks or other problems do not occur. Keeping an eye on your tank (or tanks) is essential so that neither the environment nor the people who work or live near your tank are affected by any issues that make your tank less than safe. Releases from USTs can threaten human health and contaminate both soil and groundwater. Thousands of leaks happen around the world each year, so close attention to the condition of your tank is paramount.

So, as the person responsible for tank maintenance, what should you be doing?

Appoint and train employees for regular maintenance

It’s important, of course, that you select a few reliable individuals to take care of the maintenance of your underground tanks. You want consistency in this job, so choose employees who are reliable and who you trust to do a good job. Make sure they are aware of the potential hazards of this particular duty but assure them that if protocols are followed, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Thorough training is essential. Each person who will be responsible for this task should be trained in an identical manner and should participate in training exercises together. When personnel need to be replaced, be sure that those currently responsible for underground storage tank maintenance are involved in the training of the new person.

Employees who take on this job should work well together, so select individuals who pair well. It’s a big undertaking and the last thing you want is tension between your workers.

Schedule times for maintenance and inspection

When your tank was installed or when you took over responsibility for the tank, you likely received an overview of how it works from the tank installer or the previous owner. They probably gave you suggestions for how often the tank needs to be inspected or when routine maintenance procedures should be conducted.

Stick to a regular schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. You may find that you need to inspect the tank daily for certain things and less often for others. Be sure to review these with your maintenance workers so that the schedule remains consistent, and no problems are missed.

Keep a checklist

You probably have a handbook on file that tells you about your equipment and how it operates. You may have received this from the installer, or it may have been provided to you by your province or state. You should also have a checklist that provides you with a list of everything that must be inspected and how often.

Primarily you will be looking for potential leaks and can use a number of different options to detect a release, such as groundwater monitoring, manual tank gauging, or vapour monitoring, just to name a few. These are generally conducted every 30 days.

Furthermore, you must maintain the results of any of the testing you conduct, so be sure to have a foolproof system that allows you to file these reports where they can be easily retrieved, if necessary. This is a RULE, not an option, so be sure to abide by it.

Getting help with maintenance

If this all sounds overwhelming to you, it’s important to recognize that though it’s essential for maintenance to be regular and consistent, you don’t have to do it yourself or select employees to do the work. You can hire a company like Western Oil Services to conduct inspections and complete maintenance procedures or repairs.

We perform visual inspections for fueling systems and provide a comprehensive report indicating whether action is required. Following manufacturer’s standards and recommendations, our inspectors check:

  • Fill boxes for condition and cleanliness, caps are in good shape
  • Tank banners for proper naming indicating which products are inside each tank
  • Dispensers for weeps, seeps and leaks (environmental impact)
  • Condition of all hoses and nozzles for leaks, unusual wear patterns, and expiry dates

You can rely on us to stay in touch with you regarding your maintenance needs, offering you the services you require when you need them, working with you to accommodate your schedule. We understand that your safety and that of your employees is paramount, so you can be sure our inspections are thorough and according to regulations.

To learn more about our underground storage tank maintenance programs, call Western Oil Services at 604-514-4787.