Tank cleaning is a vital process that often goes unnoticed but plays a crucial role in various industries and even in our everyday lives.  We all know that water storage tanks are the backbone of various industries, serving essential functions like supplying clean drinking water, supporting manufacturing processes, and maintaining fire protection systems. Ensuring that these tanks operate efficiently and safely is of utmost importance. 

One crucial aspect of maintaining water tanks is regular cleaning. Because water tanks are susceptible to the accumulation of sediments, biofilm, algae, and other contaminants over time, these impurities compromise the quality of stored water and hinder the tank’s functionality.  Making it worse, uncleaned water tanks certainly pose health and safety risks.

What is Tank Cleaning?

Tank cleaning is the primary procedure used to completely remove pollutants, leftovers, and undesired materials from different kinds of tanks. Large industrial containers to more compact water storage containers for homes can all be included in these tanks. This practice is essential for ensuring that the stored water remains clean, safe, and of high quality.

Also, the process of tank cleaning is systematic and thorough, designed to eliminate sediment, contaminants, and biofilm from the interior of the tank. The specific steps may vary depending on the type of tank and its unique requirements.

Why is Tank Cleaning Important?

  1. Safety. One of the primary reasons for tank cleaning is safety. Remaining parts and contaminants in tanks can pose serious hazards, including fire, explosions, and health risks to workers and the environment.
  2. Product Quality. In industries like food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, tank cleaning is important to maintain the quality and integrity of products. Contaminated tanks can lead to product spoilage and quality issues.
  3. Regulatory Compliance. Many industries are subject to strict regulations and standards regarding tank cleanliness. Failure to comply can result in fines, legal trouble, and damage to a company’s reputation.
  4. Efficiency and Cost Savings. Regular tank cleaning helps maintain the efficiency of tanks and equipment, reducing energy consumption and preventing downtime.

  1. Tank Longevity. Accumulated sediment can corrode the tank’s interior, leading to structural damage. Regular cleaning helps extend the tank’s lifespan, saving you money on repairs and replacements.

When Should You Clean Your Storage Tank?

Internal Inspections – When it’s time for an internal inspection, your tank must be removed from service, cleaned, and ready for an inspector to enter.

Changing Products – A full tank cleaning may be required if you intend to store a different product in your tank. All remaining parts and contaminants will be removed when changing from an unrefined to a refined product, such as gasoline from crude oil. This is essential when you clean your tanks.

Tank Issues – If your tank embarks on a mechanical problem, you probably won’t be able to fix it while it’s still in use. Depending on the problem, you might need to empty, clean, and vapor-free your tank before doing the required repairs.

How Do You Clean a Storage Tank?

The storage tank owner/operator must pump/drain the product until the tank loses suction from the low-suction nozzle. This means that there will still be several thousand gallons of product on the tank floor, below the low suction line, that must be removed. After that, a tank cleaning company will arrive and perform the following basic steps:

  • Electrical lockout/tagout connections on pumps, mixers, and other mechanical equipment.
  • Drain the lines, remove the valves, and install appropriately sized blind flanges on tank nozzles and pipeline flanges to isolate the tank from the system.
  • Using a vacuum truck or other pumping device, remove the remaining product from the tank.
  • Vent the tank mechanically and perform gas freeing to remove dangerous vapors, ideally to a lower explosive limit (LEL) of 10 or less.
  • Enter a confined space (to clean the tank’s interior).

  • Remove final product puddles via vacuum truck by squeegeeing the tank floor.
  • Powerwash the floor, walls, and underneath the side of the floating roof of the tank.

  • Check for vapors in the roof pontoons on the floating roof (what keeps the floating tank roof floating) and clean/vent them as needed.
  • Examine the seals on floating roof tanks for vapors and products.
  • Inspect your tank for cleanliness and the presence of hidden vapors to ensure it is clean and vapor-free.

What Issues Arise in Tank Cleaning?

  • Unknown conditions inside the tank can make developing a plan ahead of time difficult.
  • Petroleum storage tanks pose a flammability and toxicity hazard that must be identified and managed to ensure that no actual or potential atmospheric hazards affect the entrants.
  • The tank is not draining properly, it should have been draining into the sump which is a low point for water to drain at the bottom of the tank.
  • Risks to safety are ensured that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn and that the tank is properly purified.
  • Activities in adjacent areas may have an impact on confined space conditions.
  • Weather conditions, such as extreme heat and lightning storms, can add to the danger.

It’s Important to Plan!

Due to the number of stages required, several issues like this can arise during the tank cleaning procedure. As a result, it is crucial to create a unique decommissioning plan for each site as well as a backup strategy in case something goes wrong.

Tank cleaning is a great standard practice that is strictly required by local and federal agencies. Tank cleanings can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but tank cleanings are not only preventative maintenance but also insurance for both the site owner and the land surrounding the tanks.

Call Us Today!

Don’t compromise on water quality and tank longevity. Ensure that your water storage tank receives the cleaning it deserves. Contact Raven Tanks at 1800 907 834 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your tank cleaning needs. Let us be your trusted partner in maintaining a clean, reliable water supply.

Wherever you are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Dalby, Darwin, or Geelong — Raven Tanks is your trusted partner in ensuring clean, safe, and compliant tanks!

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