Use Bunded Tanks To Prevent Oil Leakage

A bund, or catchpit, is an area around an oil storage tank built to catch fuel in case of leakage. It works as a secondary containment system to prevent further environment contamination caused by fuel escaping from a tank. It is usually constructed from concrete or masonry around a single-skin storage tank. It can also be made as a component of a built-in bunded tank, where both tank and bund are connected. Whatever the make, bunded tanks should be able to hold a minimum 110% of a tanks contents, which is usually a legal requirement, in case it overspills or leaks.

An integrally or built-in bunded tank is considered more practical to use compared to a stand-alone. While an integrally-bunded tank is one type of oil storage tanks, there are two other generic types: single skin and double skin. A single skin oil storage tank can be installed inside a reinforced masonry or concrete bund. A double skin oil storage tank on the other hand, is used mainly for commercial establishments with underground applications.

Oil storage tanks are manufactured using polyethylene (plastic) or steel materials. They can be available in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit customer needs and requirements. At home, oil storage tanks are used to supply oil for cooking and heating. They can last for as long as 20 years if properly taken care of. Beyond these years, oil storage tanks tend to fail and must be replaced immediately.

Location Is Important

Oil supply stored at home can start a fire. Thus, it is important to adhere to government regulations for safety. There are typical fire separation distances that are implemented to provide enough protection. Stored fuel has to be far away as possible from all heat sources. Accepted distances between oil storage tanks and various heat sources are the following:

Typically, the regulated fire distance is at 1.8 meters or approximately 6 feet. This includes distance between fuel supply and

(1) oil-fired appliances,
(2) windows or doors;
(3) fire-prone structure or building (such as a garden shed); and
(4) building or house eaves. For fences or boundaries, a 760mm or 2.5ft distance should be kept away from oil tanks. If there are no boundaries, fences, or gates, but foliage or trellis instead, a 600mm or 2ft distance should be maintained.

Regulations differ from one place to another. Always check local guidelines for adherence. In case oil tanks are kept inside buildings or houses, a different set of rules also apply.

Proper Support Is Important, Too

For both environmental and safety reasons, providing a suitable support and base for an oil storage tank is crucial. An oil tanks base should be:

(1) big enough to extend beyond a tank on all sides by 300mm or 1ft;
(2) constructed of stonework, paving stones, or concrete;
(3) imperforate, level, and non-combustible; and
(4) sturdy, durable, and strong to support the weight of a tank.

Both commercial and residential oil storage bunded tanks must have adequate support. Otherwise, they can become weak and may lead to leakage or spill. All throughout the life of oil storage tanks, they must be properly maintained to avoid failures.