If you have an above ground storage tank and want to get rid of it, you cannot just unhook it and haul it to the dump. Storage tank removal isn’t that simple, and for good reason. It’s actually a process called closure, because you’re permanently removing your storage tank from service, not just moving it off your property. Learn how walden can help with your above ground storage tank removal.
Storage tank removal regulations differ depending on whether the tank is situated above or underground. Procedures for above-grade tanks are less complicated, but you still have to follow the rules to protect yourself and the environment. If you would like more information about above ground storage tanks before you read this afticle then check out the 10 common features of an above ground tank.
Groundwater, in particular, is a critical concern. It’s the source of drinking water for more than half the residents of the US, and of course any toxic chemicals that leach into it can have devastating effects on wildlife and the natural environment, too.
Your above ground storage tank could be located indoors or outdoors. Usually they’re used to hold petroleum products, but yours may contain some type of hazardous chemical. Because these products pose such a high potential risk, storage tank removal is governed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, although each state has it’s own set of rules, and some local municipalities do, too. It’s the state that actually controls your storage tank removal.
The American Petroleum Institute has also developed standards for above ground storage tank removal. Official requirements and industry standards are there to ensure the procedures you follow are safe for the people performing the work, and that no contamination is left behind.
The process works like this:
- Obtain necessary permits.
- Inspect your tank to determine if any product is left inside. If so, it must be removed.
- Test the tank’s interior to determine there are any vapors left behind that might endanger people or pose a fire hazard. API standards call for cutting the tank open to more thoroughly remove any remaining liquid or residue, but you must at least punch holes in it, so it can never be used to store chemicals again in the future. Anything you remove from the tank must be disposed of at a properly licensed hazardous materials recycling facility.
- You must also remove any product remaining in connecting lines, vents or fill ports associated with your tank. Then fill and vent pipes must be cut and capped as part of the storage tank removal process. If the pipes travel through a wall, they have to be capped on both sides. Some jurisdictions require that the cut-and-cap procedure remove pipe to a point where it’s below grade.
Instead of capping the pipe, you may choose to fill it with an approved inert substance. The point is to eliminate any chance that hazardous chemicals can be accidentally delivered through the pipe once the tank is gone.
- At this point, your jurisdiction may require an inspection by the fire marshal or a building inspector, especially if the tank is indoors.
It’s smart to understand what’s required for storage tank removal before you get started. An easy way to do that is to work with an environmental engineering firm that knows the regulations and procedures inside and out because they work with them every day. Getting professional assistance assures you won’t miss an important step or accidentally cause a spill.
Another reason to hire professional help is that you’ll get full documentation when your tank removal process has been completed. You’ll want those documents for your permanent records, and if you need to file any final paperwork, you’ll have that in your hand, too.
The ultimate goal of above ground storage tank removal is peace of mind – for you and your neighbors, and for the wider environment – knowing that whatever was housed inside your tank cannot accidentally cause harm in the future.