A tank leak repair may seem like a daunting prospect at first. Add the additional complication of a tank being underground, and the challenge can seem insurmountable to the untrained eye thanks to challenges like excavation. However, fiberglass tank repairs can quickly and effectively fix tanks up and get them back to full functionality—even tanks in hard-to-reach places. This article provides an overview of underground tanks and then discusses some repair methods relevant to them.
Traits of Underground Storage Tanks
At Composites World, Ginger Gardiner explains that federal regulations require that underground storage tanks (USTs) implement a secondary form of containment. Put simply, they need to be double-walled. An additional requirement is an “interstitial void” in between the walls, which facilitates the monitoring of leaks. Though these are guidelines put in on a federal level, individual states are in charge of implementing them, and in some areas, “counties and municipalities … determine UST repair and replacement specifications.”
These tanks store a wide variety of substances, some of which are potential pollutants, hence the emphasis on avoiding leaks via double walls and continual monitoring. The most common such substance is petroleum.
Single-Walled FRP Tank Repairs
The requirement that tanks have a secondary containment feature was put into place in 2005. That means that older tanks may still only have a single wall. If such a tank develops a leak, regulations at the state and municipal level can come into play. They may call for a tank to be totally replaced, which requires excavation—a potentially costly and time-consuming process.
An alternative method is to simply fix the tank and, following inspection and certification, make it capable of secondary containment. Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) is one useful material for repairing a leaking tank. During one form of FRP tank repairs, for instance, Gardiner writes that workers can install FRP “inner tank sections,” thus increasing the soundness of the structure. Gardiner also described an advanced system in which the newly installed barriers installed can, by themselves, meet the aforementioned dual-wall requirement, no matter how corroded the original tank structure becomes.
The Benefits of Tank Leak Repair and Retrofitting
The repairing-and-retrofitting process is generally less expensive than a full-on excavation and replacement, and it usually causes less downtime. In fact, according to one expert in the field quoted by Gardiner, some tank owners are taking advantage of the benefits of retrofitting even before their tanks develop a leak.
Repairs with FRP-based solutions can not only keep contaminants from leaking out; they can also perform the duty of keeping unwanted liquids from entering a tank, too, even long into a tank’s service life. That can be especially valuable for drinking water tanks, which obviously need to avoid being contaminated. And as is the case with other types of tanks, repairing a water tank rather than ripping it out of the ground and installing a new one can save labor, money, and downtime.
Picon FRP Tank Leak Repair and Maintenance
Picon has experience repairing, relining, coating and testing tanks of all shapes, sizes, and uses. Contact us today to see how we can help simplify your tank maintenance regimen. We can be reached at 510-232-0065 or via our contact form.