The Dangers of Neglecting Water Tank Maintenance

A stale water tank can become a haven for bacteria and algae. Conditions in any tank can result in stagnant water where microorganisms such as legionella thrive. Debris accumulation in a water tank can also damage pumps, filters, and other fittings.

Regular plant maintenance activities are an important proactive measure that astute plant managers can take to help ensure safe operations and facility longevity. These maintenance schedules should include a plan for cleaning storage tanks on a regular basis.

Debris and corrosion-causing contaminants can combine to form a sludge-like material at the bottoms or sides of dirty tanks. This can reduce storage tank efficiency by causing oxidation. Worse, dirty, and contaminated tanks can endanger both the environment and your employees.

Tank cleanings are frequently required as part of regulatory inspections, and workers must perform them on a regular basis depending on the materials stored in tanks. Consider cleaning tanks during routine maintenance or repair periods to reduce lost productivity and downtime. Plant managers, for example, can schedule routine metal tank cleanings during planned plant turnarounds or shutdowns, as a cessation of activity and production can provide ideal conditions for tank cleaning. Cleaning storage tanks prior to material changeovers is also important to prevent old materials from contaminating new ones. Tank cleanings, like all activities related to plant and facility maintenance, can be a dangerous procedure that workers must carry out with extreme caution.

Water contamination can cause illnesses such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and lead poisoning. The simple act of cleaning your water tank may help to protect your family from water-borne diseases.

If disease isn’t enough of an incentive to get you to clean your water tank, we’re hoping that economic principles will. Periodic maintenance of your water tank is far less expensive than costly last-minute repairs. Regular upkeep of your water tank ensures that your water tank provides you with clean water at all times and is functioning at optimum levels.

Tank cleaning hazards

Potential hazards vary greatly; however, proper tank cleaning planning should include risk mitigation strategies to reduce threats. Tanks are, by definition, confined spaces. The lack of airflow and light, poses unique challenges for workers entering and exiting tanks. Other potential hazards include:

  • fires or explosions,
  • toxic gas and vapor releases,
  • oxygen shortages and other physical dangers,
  • exposure to radiation, and
  • environmental contamination, among others.

Using trained professionals for all tank cleanings is frequently the best option for avoiding employee health hazards or environmental hazards and mitigating risk.

Tank cleaning safety tips

Using trained professionals for all tank cleanings is frequently the best option for avoiding employee health hazards or environmental hazards and mitigating risk.

  • Coordination — Ideally, tank cleanings should take place only after plant managers have assessed and planned for risks. Planning should also include obtaining permits as needed and facilitating safety meetings to ensure that cleanings are carried out properly.
  • Professional tank cleaning necessitates training and industry-specific experience. Allow only those with the necessary knowledge and expertise to clean storage tanks. Employees who are unsure of cleaning best practices or who are in poor health should refrain from participating in these activities.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) — Tank cleanings should never be performed without first preparing the appropriate equipment for handling holding materials and working with specific tanks. Equipping employees with the proper protective gear can mean the difference between safety and disaster.
  • Calibrated gas and oxygen detectors should be included in proper safety equipment to alert cleaners of oxygen deficiencies. In the event that a problem arises, plant managers should have safety harnesses and emergency kits on hand.
  • Before cleaning, trained personnel must ensure that all valves, manholes, and other tank components are properly shut off, opened, closed, or otherwise addressed.

Neglecting to clean your tanks can be dangerous; however, cleaning tanks without the proper safety measures in place can be just as dangerous, if not more so. Consider seeking professional assistance to achieve the best results for keeping your facility, employees, and the environment safe, as well as your tanks clean.

To discuss any of the concepts described here in more detail, our friendly and experienced customer service team can help. We offer tried and tested services around Houston, Texas and Longbeach, California.

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