Understanding API Tank Requirements

API tank requirements:

The American Petroleum Institute (API) sets the standards that regulate oil tank storage. These standards vary depending on where the tank is located, what the tank holds and the size of the tank. API tanks must be inspected regularly to make sure they’re safe and performing efficiently.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 10/14/17 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

You’re careful to keep up with regular visits to the dentist. 

Your car’s oil gets changed right on schedule.

You see your doctor for a check-up once a year, whether you need to or not.

Just like with these necessary “maintenance” tasks, you need to periodically check your storage tanks to make sure they’re up-to-date with API tank requirements.

If you neglect to inspect and maintain your tanks, problems such as leaks – or weak points that lead to leaks – can go undetected and cause a safety hazard.

It can also be costly to repair or clean up the possible damage afterward.

Here’s what you need to know.

API tank requirements

The American Petroleum Institute (API) sets the standard that has been designated by the government to regulate the standards for oil tank storage.

API is responsible for determining how the tank is designed, the fabrication, construction/welding of the tank, where it is placed, inspection, etc.

API standards are most commonly associated with the tanks that are holding process chemicals  such as gas, oil, creosote, pentachlorphenal, wood preservatives, solvents, and other chemicals.

API standards

The API tank requirements standards vary depending on the size of the tank, the location of the tank, and what the tank is storing.

These requirements ensure that the tanks are designed, manufactured, installed, and repaired in a safe manner during their useful life.

During the design and fabrication phases, it’s important that the owner of the tank pays special attention to the materials being used by the tank manufacturer during the design and fabrication processes.

Special elements such as tank anchors, wind girders, nozzle reinforcing pads, or structural steel roof supports may need to be considered, depending on the situation.

The standard also specifies the type of materials and processes that are to be used when welding the tank’s components together. This includes non-destructive inspections during the fabrication process. Some of these inspections include ultrasonic testing of the materials, vacuum or radigrahic testing of the welds seams.

Once the tank is built and installed, a final hydrostatice or pnuematic test is normally performed to ensure that the tank has no leals prior to putting it into operation.

If the tanks do not meet the standards set aside by the API, it could mean trouble for the owner.

Once the tanks are in operation, the tank owner is responsible for making sure their tanks are in compliance with the standards. This includes regular interval inspections of the tank.

These inspections are usually performed by a third party inspection agency. The inspector will examine each tank periodically and let the owner know if the tanks are up to the standards or not.

Factors such as the foundation the tank is sitting on, corrosion from exposure to the outside elements and the conditions of the tank itself are all taken into consideration during the inspection.

Follow API standards for tanks

It’s important that you’re adhering to the guidelines set forth by the API for your tank.

They should be periodically inspected to ensure they’re in compliance so you don’t risk a leak that could be a safety hazard – or, at the least, cost you revenue.

For a copy of the API standards you’ll need for your API tank, the API Standards store is a great place to start.

To make sure you’re getting the highest-quality storage tanks for your business, contact Tank Fab.

We provide top-of-the-line tanks that are sure to meet the API standards and are safe for use.

Author: Jeffrey Lippincott

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