Above ground storage tanks (AST) store the materials we may not see but we certainly use, either directly or indirectly, on a daily bases. Some materials, such as oil and water, are used everyday by ordinary Americans. Other substances such as industrial chemicals, liquid fertilizers, and sewage materials are less visible but are vital for industries of all kinds across the United States. These steel storage tanks provide safe, efficient, and cost-effective storage for materials that otherwise would be an absolute hassle to store and transport. As such, they get a lot of attention from both the U.S. government and leaders in private industry.
One of the main industry agencies responsible for overseeing AST construction, maintenance, and inspection is the American Petroleum Institute (API). API sets up a series of guidelines and stipulations regarding every aspect of ASTs: how they’re built, how they’re used, and how they’re held accountable to industry and government standards. Done in the name of safety and efficiency, these rules ensure that AST units are used to the best of their abilities and that they’re used without causing harm to anyone, which is especially important when they contain hazardous chemicals.
In particular, API 653 is a regulation that mostly concerns the inspection of AST units. Above ground storage tank inspections involve quite a bit as one could imagine. ASTs with a capacity of 1,100 gallons or greater, for example are required to be built with corrosion protection on the bottom. Inspectors ensure the integrity of tanks by using high tech tools and measuring equipment. API 653 inspections are expected to occur at least once every five years (depending on the tank’s materials).
There are a number of other rules that come with API 653. Regardless of the details, it is important for every AST owner to take heed of API’s regulations. If they don’t, it could lead to trouble (or even disaster) further down the road.