Fuel and heating oil tanks, over the years, has seen some improvements credited to technological advancements. Bespoke productions and designing oil storages to match user specifications are the in thing now. One of such productions is the popular Bunded Fuel tanks that are now required at commercial, industrial, and in most domestic areas.
For the benefit of those new to the subject matter, a bunded fuel tank is an oil tank within an oil tank. It consists of an outer protective layer, most times called the bund layer, which protects the inner tank that contains the stored fuel.
The benefits of owning a portable bunded fuel tank are enormous: from protecting the environment from fuel spillages, avoiding fuel theft and some form of impact due to its outer layer and texture, to saving fuel for long-term projects and even flexibility and mobility.
But the impending hazards that may result from outright negligence and poor maintenance of the fuel tanks can pose a lot of serious problems for the owner. Inadequate footing and construction choices may also contribute to hazards from bunded tanks.
It is safe to say that to prevent disasters and environmental hazards from occurring, some maintenance measures must be placed. Also, strict adherence to environmental regulations needs to be considered. This is done to not just prevent disasters of any sort but to reduce malfunctioning of the tanks and prolong its lifespan.
So, what are the ways you can carry out maintenance checks on your tank to extend its integrity and durability? We will be discussing them briefly.
Now, this may sound like a bore, but the importance of carrying out weekly checks on the bunded fuel around your home or industry cannot be downplayed. You can slip this into your weekly chores (probably at the same time of taking out the trash), get accustomed to it till it becomes a habit. It is easy to spot any unusual changes on your bunded tank when a regular inspection is done.
What you should look out for when inspecting includes:
- A dust coating on the surface on the tank.
- The welds and seams for signs of damage.
- The smell of gas in the air or inside your home.
- Hooliganism (in the case where your tank is position close to a walkway or road).
- General wear and tear.
If it is a simple problem of dust coating, grab a clean rag and a bucket of soapy water and thoroughly clean the tank, leaving no place out. Then grab another rag to wipe off the soapy sludge. It is recommended to do this on weekends because it can be time exhausting.
If you noticed that your tank has been vandalized, alert the emergency services immediately, so any further hazard or risk can be timely mitigated.
Check the pipework fittings.
When the fittings of your bunded fuel tank are loose, it can pose a serious problem not just to you and residents in the area, but the environment as well. Statistics show that more than 80% of leaks in oil tanks are as a result of improper or loosened pipework fittings. If at any time you notice the pipework fittings are loosened, you can inspect the torque on the bolts and nuts, rummage through your toolbox and find the appropriate wrench and re-tighten the bolts. However, if the problem is serious, you can consult a professional plumber, a broiler expert to check the valves and filters and ensure that they are in perfect condition.
Clean the Interior.
If your tank is being operated regularly, chances are there are sludge building inside the tank. Even when the tank isn’t in operation, sludge will still build up. These sludges clog up the filters and contaminate the supply of fuel. It is imperative to clean the interior of the tank and take out these sludges—this ensures the durability of your tank.
It is important that you do not try to do this yourself. You can many injuries and even death if you attempt to clean the interior and take out the sludge yourself. The services of a trained specialist with a wealth of experience and with the right safety equipment should be hired to do the job. A well-trained specialist will ensure safety protocol is followed and ensuring that the insurance and/or warranty is very much in place.
Clear vegetation surrounding tank.
While weekly inspection of the bunded fuel tanks is recommended, it is also important to clear the vegetation around the perimeter of the tank, especially around the vent caps and fillers. If the vegetation around the tank is not properly weeded and or totally ignored, the tank will be overgrown with shrubs, making it impossible for one to spot any visible changes on the tank.
The use of a lawn mower to weed out the vegetation monthly is recommended. Mowing should be done as carefully as possible so the blades or surface of the mower don’t get in contact with the bund.
Most tanks are damaged through vandalism, theft or vehicular crash will advertently hamper the integrity of the tank. To prevent all these from happening, it is highly recommended to install secure fencing or a crash barrier.
Secure fencing will help prevent strong winds, nearby trees, falling snow or ice to affect the exterior surface of the tank.
Don’t buy too much fuel.
It makes more sense to purchase and store more fuel when it is cheap, but it may lead to problems in the long run. For one, too much fuel in the tank may create leaks or overflow which pollutes the environment and can cause explosions if not properly handled. You can maintain your tank by buying just enough fuel—not necessarily filling it to the brim.
In conclusion, all of the problems listed throughout the post can be avoided if these tips are followed. Also, with the cost of purchasing a new tank is on the high side, coupled with facing environmental sanctions and whatnot, taking care of your bunded tank should be a priority. Ensure that all experts hired by to fix issues on your tank are certified and registered with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC).