Why Adhering to Industry Standards is Key to Prolonging the Life of Your Water Tank and Ensuring Safety

Over 100,000 water storage tanks have been constructed within the last 100 years, a value far exceeding the number of large water storage vessels of any other construction material. Many steel water tanks have service histories of over a century and are still in service today.

Indeed, the lifespan of a stainless steel water storage tank, under the right conditions, can span a century or more. While not every one of them can be expected to last a century, with regular upkeep, they all have a chance.

If you want to keep your water tank in top condition and ensure its longevity, adhering to industry standards is a surefire way to make it possible.

What Are Industry Standards?

A key to extending the lifespan of water tank is a good inspection, professional tank cleaning, and routine maintenance. Nothing fabricated and installed will continue to operate without quality checks. 

Most potable water storage tanks constructed in the United States adhere to specifications set by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). These standards are developed and maintained under the direction of the AWWA Standards Committee on Steel Elevated Tanks, Standpipes, and Reservoirs, which is composed of members representing consumer, general interest, and producer groups.

Industry standards provide guidelines for these activities, such as how often inspections should be conducted and what cleaning and maintenance procedures should be performed. AWWA recommends inspection every three to five years to extend the lifespan of a water tank.

Water Tank Lifespan and Safety

For a water tank’s lifespan to be extended beyond its expected expectancy, constant maintenance, and inspection are required. To ensure water tank safety, you must also consider three essential factors: material, location, and usage.


You do not want to get a tank that lasts only one to five years, so you better veer away from water storage tanks constructed from plastic barrels. These are generally cheap, but they are only helpful if you are looking for a short-term water storage solution.

A polyethylene water storage tank is excellent because it is made from UV-treated, food-grade, and non-biodegradable plastic. With this composition, you can be confident that it will not break down for some time. Poly tanks should last for a decade or so, but if you are attentive to their routine maintenance, it could be up to thirty years.

However, a stainless steel water tank is a great choice if you want to ensure that your money will not go to waste. It is made from steel, so it is naturally more durable and has a longer shelf life than other water storage tanks. A well-maintained stainless steel tank has an expected service life of over three decades. Most of the time, this unit also comes with a long-term warranty.


The water tank’s life expectancy is also determined by the geophysical characteristics of the location where you will install the unit. Beware if the tank is built near a body of saltwater because the air will most likely speed up the corrosion of the unit. If you live in a coastal area, you might need to shell out a few more bucks to ensure that your tank has the proper sheeting, which aids with protection against salty air. But if you will acquire a stainless steel tank, this should not be a problem.

If you reside in a place where it is always sunny or too dry, the UV treatments of a polyethylene water storage tank will only last for a while. Permanent exposure to intense UV for extended periods will cause earlier degradation of the plastic material. That is why water tank protection from heat is vital for a polyethylene water storage tank.


The service life of a tank is also dictated by how it is used. A unit that contains clean and fresh water for human consumption will typically have a much longer lifespan than a unit with harsh chemicals or salt.

Installing a food-grade tank liner is highly recommended if you use a stainless steel tank for potable water storage. This ensures water tank safety and prevents oxidized steel or zinc from contaminating the water supply. However, a tank liner is unnecessary for a polyethylene water storage tank because it is already constructed from food-grade plastic materials.

Looking for Industry-Approved Water Tanks In Your Area?

For most of us, water tanks are a long-term investment that we don’t just buy and forget after a year of use. And, as a prized investment, we don’t want it to run the risk of contamination and corrosion. 

So keep your water tanks always in pristine condition and eventually extend their lifespan with the help of our tank experts at American Tanks! With over two decades in the industry, we can efficiently handle your project requirements, no matter how simple or complex they could be. 

Give us a call today and let us know how we can better serve you!

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