Cleaning storage tanks: difficulties and complexities

Storage tanks must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to ensure a clean and safe working environment and to protect the integrity of the contents inside. This article discusses the difficulties that are frequently associated with storage tank cleaning, as well as the methods that qualified experts can use to clean industrial tanks safely and efficiently. A prudent storage tank maintenance strategy includes regular, scheduled cleaning of industrial storage tanks. Learn more about the advantages of a tank maintenance program by visiting this blog.

Correct tank maintenance and cleaning will help you avoid:

Internal Moisture Build-up

This can cause your tank to corrode from the inside out over time, resulting in tank damage and seepage. Moisture can also be harmful to the contents of your tank and cause a variety of issues.


Solids that enter the tank eventually degrade, settle to the bottom, and become sludge. If not cleaned on a regular basis, this can have an impact on the quality of the contents in the tank and lead to clogged pipes. Sludge can also clog filters and prevent solids from passing through, affecting the operation of plants, vehicles, and boilers.

Microbial Contamination

When there is moisture in the tank, these bacteria grow. In these conditions, growing organisms thrive, causing contamination, blockages, and filter damage.

Tank Cleaning: Safety Hazards and Challenges

Cleaning the inside of an industrial tank poses a number of hazards and safety concerns. The following are examples of common hazards:

Fire & Explosion

When a tank contains fuel or a flammable liquid, in addition to the air that will undoubtedly be present during the cleaning process, you have two of the three elements required for a fire or explosion. The third component is an ignition source, which can take many forms, such as static electricity, electrical equipment, hot surfaces, and exothermic reactions (iron sulfide). Because fuel and air are frequently unavoidable, the only way to avoid an explosion is to completely eliminate the risk of ignition.

Chemical Hazards

Inside tanks, there are many toxic chemicals that can be encountered during cleaning. Dangers arise when they come into contact with skin, are inhaled, or are accidentally consumed. Depending on the chemical, side effects can occur immediately or gradually, and they can be short-term or long-term.

Oxygen Deficiency

Oxygen levels can fall well below the recommended level of 20%. Before entering, this must be tested and a breathing apparatus must be worn. The oxygen level in a high-risk tank must be monitored throughout the cleaning process.

Physical Hazards

If an experienced practitioner does not conduct an accurate risk assessment, problems such as objects falling, tripping, a slippery surface, head injuries, and so on can occur. These risks are generally exacerbated when there is a risk of fire, as artificial lighting must be kept to a minimum.


When there is water or sludge in the bottom of a tank, allergic reactions and infections from contact or inhalation are very likely.


The toxicity of the chemical inside can make emissions to both air and water dangerous. Gases and flammable liquids released into the atmosphere, as well as any emissions to water or the ground, pose a significant environmental risk. In this situation, regulations must be strictly followed.

Cleaning and Maintaining Industrial Tanks

All tanks will accumulate sludge, debris, contaminants, and water over time. Regular cleaning is critical, and all businesses with storage tanks should have an adequate maintenance plan in place. Due to the inherent dangers of the task, tank cleaning and maintenance crews are fully qualified and highly trained experts.

Methods used to clean the tank will vary depending on the unique circumstances of each tank and may include:

– Non-Entry Tank Cleaning

The typical procedure entails emptying the tank and lowering the cleaning equipment. This equipment is then used to pressure wash or use expanding foam to remove all chemicals and contaminants from the tank. Remote cameras can be used to keep track of progress.

– Manned Entry Tank Cleaning

In some cases, manned entry into the tank is required. To reduce risk, this cleaning method must be carried out by experienced confined space entry crews. To ensure that the tank is adequately cleaned, the crew will physically scrub the contaminants from its surface.

– Fuel Filtration/Fuel Polishing

Water and contaminants are filtered out while the fuel is left in the tank. To ensure accuracy, fuel is circulated around the tank, and remote video cameras and fiber optics are used.

– Multipoint Pumping (Water)

The accumulated water in a tank is pumped out through all available access points. Flexible suction tubes can be used to remove water and contaminants from the bottom of a tank, ensuring that it is properly emptied. The tank’s waste is then disposed of in a licensed facility.

Raven Tanks offers a variety of tank cleaning services that are both safe and compliant


 We specialize in confined space entry and developing customized tank maintenance programs for your specific tank needs.

Our friendly and experienced customer service team is here to help you!

Call Raven Tanks at 1800 907 834

Or email at [email protected]

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