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Fuel Storage Tank Inspections - How To Inspect Your Tank

how to perform a fuel storage tank inspection

Fuel is key to keeping your project up and running, so it makes sense to have a regular system of fuel tank inspections. Failing to check your tank regularly can lead to damage, wear and tear and unidentified leaks – especially if your tank is of poor quality.

Western Global’s fuel tanks are designed for tough conditions, making it easier for you to look after your fuel. With that said we’ve shared a quick checklist of what to look for when inspecting your storage tank.

Fuel tank inspection checklist

Before starting your inspection, first make sure that your tank is located in a clear area away from any safety hazards. If your tank is in a static position ensure that it’s adequately grounded (electrically earthed) before performing an operational test.

Here are some of the things you should consider every six to twelve months, depending on the nature of your operations.

1. Remove water and debris from your fuel tank

Tanks should be visually inspected for leaks. Keeping the area around your tank clear of debris and vegetation makes it easier to identify drips and spills early on. A weekly check for water or product in the interstitial space (containment area) may mean removing any accumulation of rainwater and diesel.

A competent, trained person with appropriate PPE, should also remove any accumulation of water and diesel from the bund and secure cabinet. Any waste should be treated as hazardous and disposed of following local regulations.

If you’re in any doubt, your fuel supplier will have provided you with a Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet. You should also regularly carry out a water-finding test by dipping the tank.

2. Check fuel levels and quality

It’s also important to check the quality of your fuel itself. Using poor-quality fuel can damage both your tank and equipment, leading to downtime and costly fixes in worst-case scenarios.

The general signs of poor fuel include:

  • Change in color – fuel may seem cloudy
  • An unpleasant odor coming from the tank
  • Equipment running differently than normal, such as spluttering
  • Build-up of sediment or sludge in the tank, filters or pumps

You should also check fuel levels. If running on a near-dry tank, sediment is likely to form at the bottom, which will block pumps and damage equipment if used.

3. Checking filters

If there’s also debris or sludge in the tank, your filters will likely clog up and damage pumps.   Mesh filters (strainers) should be part of regular inspections. Each feed line will have one, depending on the tank model. They will either be at the end of the line inside the tank or near the butterfly valve (Y-type strainer).

Internal strainers are accessed by pulling out the flexible dip pipe from the cabinet. If you have a water filter fitted, you may choose to replace this at the same time.


4. Hinges and locks

Hinges which hold the cabinet cover or door should be lubricated to avoid rust and wear and tear. These will be fitted with grease nipples for effortless operation. You may also wish to spray some PTFE grease on the moving parts of the locking mechanism.

If you see signs of deterioration then look to replace the hinges or locks before they become more of an issue.

5. Pumps and filters

We’ve mentioned before that pumps can be blocked due to poor tank maintenance, so it’s essential that they’re checked on a weekly basis at a minimum. Vents and valves should also be inspected to help maintain fuel flow.

Inspect the condition of the pumping equipment, vents and valves. Filler caps should be removed, and threads cleaned using a wire brush if necessary. Prevent build up of rust by applying a small amount of lithium grease on these. Inspect the gasket at the bottom of the cap and ensure that it provides a good seal before refitting.

How often do fuel tanks need to be inspected?

Fuel inspections should take place regularly, with some parts needing to be checked more often than others:

  • Vents, fittings and pipelines require a visual check every week for signs of leaks or damage.
  • A physical check for bolt tightness, paint deterioration and the general condition of pumps, vents and valves should be conducted every six months.
  • The tank earthing needs to be visually checked every month and tested annually.

There may be times when you need to check your tanks more frequently, such as during harsh winters. To find out more about seasonal fuel tank maintenance, see our How-To guide.

At the end of each inspection, record your findings and plan for additional maintenance if required, as well as your next periodic test.


Fuel tanks from Western Global

Our fuel tanks survive in the most austere environments because of intelligent design and superior build quality. This makes them easy to maintain all year round. We specialize in double walled tanks to help prevent leaks, spills and wear and tear. When it’s time for inspections, you can easily remove the inner tank, which can be easily accessed through the manway.

We want our customers to work through projects with ease, and our fuel tanks help you do just that. Our TransCube Global is a convenient option that keeps your fuel safely locked away, ensuring that nothing can compromise its quality. It can be connected to equipment as soon as it’s dropped on site, and stacked two-high when full and three-high when empty. This way you get to save on time, space and costs.

To find out more about our fuel tanks, contact us today.

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