Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aging tank population in Arizona makes headlines; But is the focus on age the right focus?

Beneath the ground at more than half of the gas stations in the State of Arizona, sit “old, rotting and potentially leaking fuel storage tanks,” according to a recent CBS-5 TV 5-Investigates report.

Quoting an audit performed by the state Auditor General’s Office, the Phoenix CBS-TV affiliate reports that nearly 1,000 USTs in the state are older than their expected 30-year lifespan and nearly 3,000 are approaching it within the next decade.

Click here to watch the CBS-5 Segment
Steve Brittle, the President of Arizona-based environmental advocacy group, “Don’t Waste Arizona,” says in the story that these thousands of tanks are at, or on the verge of, the end of their 30-year life expectancy. Generally, Brittle says, the tanks “need to be replaced at that point.”

“In our experience, that’s definitely not a given,” said Allen Porter, President and CEO of Tanknology.

“We have a lot of customers across the country with tanks in this age range. Most of them are wrestling with how and when to upgrade and replace tanks as they approach the 25-year mark. There are a number of factors that influence how a tank degrades over the years and age is just one of them.”

Porter said the company has seen many tanks in the 25- to 30-year age range that are in just fine condition.  “We’ve also seen tanks half that age that are in worse condition. It’s very site and situation specific.”
Still photo capture from actual TankCam video

In response to the growing need to understand the condition of aging tanks, Tanknology worked with several large nationwide service station operators in the development of its TankCam® Remote Tank Inspection system. The TankCam service involves putting a high resolution, lighted camera inside the tank, providing the ability to closely survey the conditions so that an operator can understand what’s happening inside the tank and then prioritize upgrade programs.

“Obviously operators want to focus their upgrade plans on the tanks in the poorest condition,” Porter said. “Our TankCam service provides them a very economical way to get a good clear look at what’s going on in that tank so that they can make informed decisions. In many cases, they are learning that just because a tank is 25-years old, it’s not necessarily in need of replacement. That allows them to turn their attention elsewhere, to the tanks which we help them see are at a higher risk of leaking.”

Tanknology’s TankCam® Remote Inspection service is available nationwide.  Inspections are quick and tanks typically do not have to be taken out of service during the process. More information and examples of actual video from inside a tank can be found on our website.

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