An underground storage tank (UST) is a storage tank with underground piping connected to the tank. It must have at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. National and provincial regulations for these tanks apply to USTs storing petroleum. Biofuel blends and certain hazardous substances are included.

If you operate an underground storage tank, maintaining it is important so that leaks or other problems do not occur. Keeping an eye on your tank is essential. The environment or people who live near your tank shouldn’t be affected by unsafe issues. Releases from USTs can threaten human health and contaminate both soil and groundwater. Thousands of leaks happen worldwide each year, so close attention to the condition of your tank is paramount.

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

Appoint and train employees for regular underground storage tank maintenance

It’s important to 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. Also, assure them that if protocols are followed, there shouldn’t be a problem.

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

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

Schedule times for underground storage tank 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 daily, weekly, or monthly. You may find that you must inspect the tank daily for certain things and less often for others. 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 about your equipment and how it operates. This may be 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 several different options to detect a release, such as groundwater monitoring, manual tank gauging, or vapour monitoring, to name a few. These are generally conducted every 30 days.

Furthermore, you must maintain the results of any 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 abide by it.

Getting help with maintenance

If this all sounds overwhelming to you, it’s important to recognize that though maintenance is essential 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 inspect and complete maintenance procedures or repairs.

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

  • 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 regarding your maintenance needs, offering you the services you require when you need them and working with you to accommodate your schedule. We understand that the safety 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.