Storage tanks are crucial elements in any industry. Storage tanks allow one to collect and store essential commodities like fuel, gases, water, and other materials. Since storage tanks and containers are susceptible to damage and contamination, they must be regularly monitored—some various standards and regulations guide tank inspection. API 653 is one type of tank inspection undertaken by professionals from worldwide inspection services companies. Any industry using storage tanks must undertake API 653 tank inspection from time to time.
The time interval between each tank inspection varies according to the nature of the material stored, the type of tank in use, and the inspection’s objective. Internal tank inspection should be conducted within ten years from the last evaluation, while external tank inspection should be conducted within five years.
However, if needed, monthly tank inspection can be considered as per the needs and requirements. Since inspecting a tank requires highly specialized skills and knowledge, it can be performed by someone certified to do the task. Besides conducting tank evaluation, inspectors are required to maintain a log of the test results for further review.
In this blog, we will look into some essential aspects of API 653 tank inspection in detail.
Detection of moisture under the insulation
Moisture or vapor can accumulate in the tank due to various reasons. Once the moisture level has reached a particular range, it can lead to water contamination and corrosion. Tank inspection companies are often called to look for the signs of any possible moisture inside the tank. Moisture detection in heated or insulated tanks is often a challenging task. The insulation or metal jacketing covering the outer part of the tanks also prevents detection of corrosion.
Tank repairing and damage prevention methods
Missing out on any part of the storage tank and accessories while conducting an API test can lead to catastrophic consequences. There are instances when tanks start to leak soon after conducting the inspection. Areas underneath the horizontal insulation panels may go unchecked and start to leak.
Thus, API tank inspectors ensure that every part of the storage tank and pipes are thoroughly scanned for any sign of damage. Insulation specialists are trained in deducing the area of water intrusion and evaluating corrosion rate. Once the crack or dent is identified, the next step is to prevent corrosion or spill.
Can You Avoid Hidden Moisture Damage?
The best way to adhere to the API 653 regulation is to adopt a customer’s insulation program.
Tank inspectors often expose the corners of the tank. This allows the inspectors to monitor the welded part that is hard to reach. Additionally, exposed insulation jackets will enable the detection of moisture that may have entered from the tank’s bottom. To check the condition of the walls, inspectors use inspection ports and ultrasonic thickness meter.
Insulation Support Systems
Tank operators and owners can comply with API 653 standards by installing an insulation support system. The support system allows proper upkeep of the insulation panels. The support platforms also simplify the task of inspecting critical areas of the tank that may be hard to reach. These support systems come in various sizes and are compatible with most insulation panels.