4 Common Tank Safety Mistakes

petroleum tank maintenance

As an owner of a fuel storage tank in Canada, you have a long list of obligations and responsibilities. You must ensure it is safe and maintained at all times, and you have to be in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. It’s a significant burden that doesn’t leave any room for errors, but surprisingly, many fuel tank owners still make the following common mistakes.

Not following provincial requirements

You are hopefully already complying with all the laws and regulations Canada has in place on a national level. However, there may be additional rules to follow in the province or territory in which your tank is located. In some parts of Canada, for example, you can’t remove a tank from service or withdraw it without having a person with the right certification or license involved. In other locations, these tasks can only be done when supervised by the correct type of engineer.

Not having structural tests done

Your tank must be tested regularly by professionals to confirm its structural integrity is sound. If your tank is leaking or contaminated, you may have a major safety issue on your hands, and you’re also likely losing costly fuel. During tests, your tank will be examined and tested to ensure it is in good order.

There are also many applicable national regulations when it comes to your tank. It must have spill containment, cathodic or corrosion protection, protection against overfill and certain connections. An above-ground tank needs to always have secondary containment nearby, while an underground tank has to have double walls.

Not continually training your staff

You are responsible for making sure that your staff undergoes annual reviews on fuel cleaning and safety procedures for petroleum tanks. Essentially, any person on your staff or working for you in any way who is involved with your tanks must know how to clean, dispense and contain fuel.

If you are not certain about the knowledge your staff currently has or know they need an update, contact a professional fuel service provider for help. The service provider will be able to train your staff so they can handle your tanks safely and properly, no matter which type you have.

Not keeping petroleum tank records

Canada has a lot of requirements for petroleum tanks regarding records, and you may have to produce them at any time. The type of records you have to keep will depend on your tank type, but there are some basic requirements that apply to all tanks. For example, you must have a detailed plan in writing regarding tank emergencies that may arise. If you have a system that was installed after June 12, 2008, you have to have installation records and as-built drawings for it.

If anything happens with your tanks that impacts people or the environment, you and your business will come under public, legal and regulatory scrutiny. You may face fines, be unable to use your tanks and face even more serious consequences depending on what occurred. This is why it’s so important to avoid the common fuel tank mistakes above, and to contact a professional service if you need help.