7 Factors to Consider When Installing Petroleum Storage Tanks and Piping

petroleum storage tank

Whether you are installing a fuel storage tank in an industrial, agricultural or commercial setting, it is of vital importance that the installation is performed safely, efficiently and in compliance with relevant regulations.

Regulatory compliance

The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations (the Regulations), which forms part of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999, details the strict guidelines that must be followed when installing petroleum storage tanks and piping. These exist to mitigate against spills or leaks which could harm the environment. It is important that these guidelines are followed, and all necessary permits are obtained before starting work.

Prepare the site

The location must be accessible to fuel delivery tankers yet be located away from high-traffic areas to minimize the likelihood of accidents. The ground must be stable and level to guard against structural issues. The soil should be tested and graded prior to installation and containment systems should be used to prevent spillages.

Petroleum storage tank and piping materials

Storage tanks are usually made from steel or fiberglass, and it is important to select the appropriate material for your site and particular requirements. All components must bear a certification mark that proves that they meet the standards set out in the Regulations. The piping must not have any buried or concealed mechanical joints and be made from copper or carry a certification mark that proves that it meets appropriate standards.

Spill and leak prevention

It is imperative that all efforts are made to prevent fuel leaks and spills, so installing double-walled tanks and secondary containment systems is recommended to prevent environmental contamination. Leak detection systems provide real-time monitoring and can alert workers to a potential spill before it becomes a major issue.

Ventilation and fire safety

Ventilation is essential to prevent flammable vapors from building up and posing a fire hazard. The area in which the fuel storage tank is situated must be well ventilated and equipped with explosion-proof fixtures, fire suppression systems and situated away from flammable objects which may enhance or quicken the spread of a fire.

Access and security

It is important to guard against the risk of unauthorized access and sabotage, so install sturdy fences, CCTV camera systems and motion activated lights to deter intruders. Access control systems can further enhance security and authorized personnel should receive regular security refresher training.

Environmental impact and sustainability

The petroleum industry is under rigorous scrutiny so any business that owns a petroleum storage tank must make all efforts to minimize its emissions and reduce the chance of a spill or leak. Performing routine inspections and environmental audits and implementing sustainable practices can enhance a company’s reputation and help them to comply with environmental standards and regulations.


Installing a petroleum storage tank with all of its associated piping is a complex process requiring careful consideration of a number of related factors. By thoroughly reviewing and abiding by regulatory requirements and focusing on security and environmental sustainability, businesses will be able to protect their investment and deliver against their operational objectives.