Bulk storage containers are aboveground tanks used to store hazardous materials. Diesel storage tanks are specifically constructed to house diesel fuel. That means the materials and construction must be compatible with the material stored. Things like pressure and temperature must meet the conditions diesel fuel requires. Keep reading to learn more about diesel fuel storage tanks, what kind of handling they require, how to store them and what kinds of safety precautions must be taken.
What Are Diesel Fuel Storage Tanks?
Diesel fuel storage tanks fall under the same category as petroleum tanks and those used to store hazardous waste or hazardous materials. These tanks should contain a double wall, or built-in secondary compartment for safer storage and spill guards to provide additional safety against accidental leaks.
To protect the surrounding environment, they must be engineered and updated to avoid discharge and include a fast response system for determining liquid levels. Diesel fuel storage tanks have a high liquid level alarm, a direct audible or code signal communication between the container gauge and the pumping station, or high liquid level pump cutoff device set to stop flow at a predetermined container content level. Some states require diesel fuel storage tanks to be registered.
Where Should You Place A Diesel Fuel Storage Tank?
It’s important to be mindful about the placement of your diesel fuel storage tank. Excess water increases the risk of spillage and broken pipelines, which is why they cannot be located in areas prone to flooding, wells, boreholes or springs. Uncontained spills can also pollute surface water, impact drinking water supplies and harm wildlife. If you cannot avoid placing your tank near a body of water, make sure to opt for a bunded tank.
Diesel fuel is regularly used to supply emergency power for commercial, industrial, medical and educational facilities. It’s also employed at power plants to provide standby power and black-start capability. According to the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC), anyone storing up to 3,500 liters of fuel in a diesel storage tank should place it at least 2 meters away from any building. If the tank can hold more than 3,500 liters of fuel then it should be placed at least 6 meters away from any building. Make sure to place your tank in an area that can be easily reached for routine maintenance.
It’s important to keep your diesel fuel storage tank away from where ignition sources such as welding and cutting torches are likely to be used. Make sure to place your tank on flat ground so that spills and leaks will not run downhill towards creeks, ditches, tiles or drains before maintenance workers get a chance to deal with it.
What Materials Are Diesel Fuel Tanks Made Of?
It’s typically safer to store diesel fuel in a steel tank, as they’re self-supporting. Plastic tanks may also be used but will require support. Tank stands or brick piers may be used.
It’s best to keep your tank at least 6 inches off the ground to avoid corrosion, and this allows for inspection and permit painting on the undersides. Tanks must also be labeled appropriately for when emergencies occur, and to avoid instances in which employees may place the wrong fuel in trucks and equipment.
Diesel fuel storage tanks must also contain a proper grounding system. While less combustible than tanks designed to store gasoline, they can experience unnecessary tension. A proper grounding system will allow electrical and static charges to flow through the system without causing any damage to the tank. The National Fire Protection Association requires explosion-proof wiring methods, including whips to connect motors.
What Does The Future Hold?
New technologies and designs might offer more efficient and cleaner ways to store diesel fuel. These innovations might become common use in the not-so-distant future. According to the American Petroleum Institute, American multinational energy company Phillips 66 has already developed an autonomous robot that can inspect diesel storage tanks while they continue to operate. This marks a huge leap in safety standards surrounding diesel fuel tanks, as workers would no longer be required to enter the tank. It also allows inspection to occur without draining the tank, making it a much more cost-effective option.