How Can Overfilling of Petroleum Storage Tanks be Avoided?

petroleum storage tank

In the case of underground or above-ground storage tanks, spill prevention should be one of your foremost priorities. Just one oversight in this area can cause environmental hazards, massive losses and even harm to property or people nearby. If you experience an overflow, you could also find yourself facing action from regulatory bodies and in the crosshairs of the public arena.

Don’t set yourself up for a disaster because you have an overfill situation. Consider the standard overflow device types below if your tank is not currently property fitted with a method of overfill prevention.

The overfill alarm

This device will go off when the petroleum hits a certain level in the tank. The alarm should go off with enough time for the delivery driver to halt the product flow and prevent any release.

The automatic shut-off

An automatic shut-off, also known as a flapper valve, monitors the product during delivery like the overfill alarm. In contrast to alerting the operator, the device will automatically shut down the flow of the product once it reaches a certain point. This device is located in the fill pipe riser’s drop tube.

The flow restrictor

A flow restrictor, or ball float valve, will slow but not stop product flow once it hits a specific level in the tank. It prevents vapour from escaping the tank once the product reaches the specified level. Since the vapours are not able to escape, it becomes harder for the product to enter and replace them. The tank top must be tight during delivery for this to function properly. In addition, a ball float valve should not be used with tanks that have pumped delivery, suction piping, remote fill pipes with gauge openings, coaxial vapour recovery (stage 1), or when a shut-off valve is being used for overflow protection.

Additional tips for preventing petroleum storage tank overfilling

There are other ways you can help ensure you don’t end up with an overfilled tank and the resulting mess. You can, for example, order enough product to fill about 90 percent of your tank. When you order the product in an amount that is close to your tank’s capacity, you increase your risk of an overfilled tank.

Ensure that any overfill prevention devices you have installed are periodically inspected to ensure they are working properly. If you notice any issues, or you do not currently have any sort of overfill prevention device in place, reach out to an experienced fuel services provider for help.

In addition, whenever you have product delivery, make sure someone is paying attention before, during and after the delivery. This monitoring can help the delivery person avoid overfilling your tank.

Contact a fuel services provider if you need to update your current overfill prevention plans and devices, or you need to get something installed. A spill from an overfill is costly in terms of time and money, but it is also entirely avoidable if you have the right plan and device in place. Your provider will work with you to ensure the needs of your particular tank and facility are addressed.