Water storage tanks hold and store clean water generated by filtration systems until it is needed. They are available in a wide range of designs, sizes, and performance capabilities, depending on the needs of the application. In the industrial, commercial, and municipal sectors, they play a critical role in many operations, making choosing, installing, and maintaining the right one essential.
The following article provides an overview of water storage tank maintenance, outlining why it is important, inspection methods employed, and guidelines to follow.
Why Is Water Storage Tank Maintenance Important?
For facilities that invest in one, a water storage tank is a valuable asset that, much like other critical equipment, requires regular maintenance. Ensuring it is properly maintained offers a number of benefits, including:
- Longer service life. Regularly scheduled tank inspection and maintenance operations allow industry professionals to identify existing damage and potential sources of damage before they become significant issues. This, in turn, reduces the negative impact on the integrity of the tank.
- Better equipment performance. As issues are identified and eliminated, the system can output better performance.
- Higher water quality. Fixing issues within the water storage tank and connected system decreases the risk of contamination and other negative effects that can affect the quality of the water in potable water tanks.
- Lower repair and replacement costs. By catching issues—such as corrosion or coating delamination—before they become significant problems, the damage to equipment is mitigated, resulting in a smaller need for costly repairs and replacements.
Inspection Methods for Water Storage Tanks
The first step of any maintenance operation is inspecting the condition of the equipment. For water storage tanks, inspections can be classified as either wet or dry.
- As implied by the name, dry inspections require the tank to be drained of water before they can be conducted by a licensed professional.
- Wet inspections are conducted without emptying the tank. Depending on the tank, either a disinfected diver or remote-operated vehicle (ROV) enters the structure to identify potential issues. If significant problems are found, such as peeling paint or thinning steel, then the tank will need to be taken out of service for repair operations.
Regardless of the method, inspection operations generally start from the bottom up, starting at the foundation of the tank and continuing upward to the legs, rods, struts, and ladder. Some of the tank conditions to check for include the thickness of the steel, the thickness of the paint, and the adhesion levels of the coating.
Guidelines for Water Storage Tank Maintenance
According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), tanks require regular inspection and maintenance to ensure they maintain their structural and sanitary integrity. While the regularity of inspection varies depending on a variety of factors—including location, operating conditions, and type employed—the organization, among other industrial companies and agencies, provides the following guidelines:
- Inspections should be performed every one, three, or five years (depending on the tank application). These operations include assessments of every system component, including the paint. As paint protects the steel tank components from corrosion, any defects in the painted surface can compromise the integrity of the steel and the quality of the water.
- Cleaning operations should occur if the system experiences any of the following:
- Recent water tank repairs or modifications
- Sediment or biological growth (e.g., coliform bacteria)
- Noticeable changes in water quality
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), storage tanks meet the definition of a “confined space.” In light of this designation, only qualified individuals with the proper protective gear and extraction equipment should enter the structures during inspection and maintenance operations.
Water Storage Tank Services From PTTG
At Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group, we have extensive experience with water storage tanks. In addition to our manufacturing capabilities, we offer routine maintenance services to ensure the safety and longevity of our customer’s tanks. Our storage tank and water tower maintenance services include inspection, cleaning and disinfecting, and repair work.
For additional information on our water tank service offerings, contact us today.