Three Signs of Corrosion in Above Ground Storage Tanks

Liquid fertilizer tanks

Corrosion is a persistent, pervasive issue in any above ground storage tank. These tanks typically store materials like liquid fertilizer, petroleum products and fuels, and all these materials will gradually eat away at the tank’s walls over the course of time.

And when corrosion is the key cause behind storage tank leaks and spills, it’s imperative that you know the signs of corrosion taking place so you can fix the problem before it worsens. About once every month, you or your personnel should be visually inspecting each storage tank for evidence of corrosion.

Not sure what to look for when performing an above ground storage tank inspection on your own? This list of the three most prominent indicators of corrosion in steel storage tanks will help you get started:

Shell distortions

If there are any odd-looking waves or distortions in your tank’s outer shell, it might be experiencing corrosion. These distortions inhibit your tank’s ability to contain the thousands of gallons of fluids stored within it, so it’s important to have them taken care of as soon as you can.

Deteriorating paint coatings

Your visual inspection should also take the condition of the tank’s paint coating into consideration. If you notice signs of rust or exposed steel in any portion of the paint coating, the tank’s structural integrity is most likely being threatened by corrosion and should be repaired.

Evidence of leaks

If you notice signs of leakage on the exterior of your storage tanks — no matter how small — then your tank is definitely suffering from corrosion. In this case, it’s highly important to repair or replace the storage tank in question, as ignoring even the most minor leak can be highly hazardous to personnel, public health and the environment. A great way to slow the onset of corrosion is to invest in an internal PVC lining that will help protect the tank’s walls from the materials contained within.

Want to know even more about how to protect your storage tanks from corrosion, or more about the API 653 tank inspection standards? Ask us anything in the comments below. Reference links.

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