Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What to do with your UST system after an earthquake

When a natural disaster occurs, such as the 6.0 earthquake in the Napa Valley of California over the weekend, UST operators in the disaster area frequently ask us, “What should we do about our tank systems?

Of course, the answers aren’t simple, as there are a lot of variables. But in the case of an earthquake, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has done an excellent job of outlining the initial steps to assess your UST system for damage.
In a document released this week, titled, Assessing Underground Storage Tanks for Earthquake Damage, the Board recommends the following first steps:

  1. Walk around the site and look for obvious signs that the system is compromised. If anything seems amiss, such as any strong odor of fuel, it’s recommended that you close the site down and call a UST Service Technician to further investigate.
  2. Determine whether your ATG leak detection system is in alarm and, if so, have a service technician perform an alarm check and run an inventory report to see if there has been a loss.
  3. If there are no obvious signs of a problem, then inspect all system access points. These include spill buckets, manways, sumps, dispenser covers, etc. You are looking for any abnormal conditions which could indicate a disruption to the integrity of the system. If you find anything, contact a service technician immediately.
  4. If there are still no indications of a problem, run each dispenser independently to verify proper operation.
  5. If product releases are discovered outside of containment areas, or there is any risk of fire or explosion, shut down the site and report it immediately to your local regulatory agency.
  6. Once all checks are performed, the Board recommends conducting a tank and line tightness test, secondary containment test, and spill bucket test as soon as possible. SWRCB says, “This is especially important if you have an older UST system, fiberglass components, or single wall components.”  
This SWRCB document contains considerable additional detail – the above is just an outline. You can find this document and download it from our website via this link.

At Tanknology, have been responding to our customers urgent requirements in response to natural disasters for more than 25 years. If you have questions, or require assistance in inspecting or testing your UST system, please don’t hesitate to call our office in Northern California at 1-800-964-0180 (or our Headquarters office at 1-800-964-1250) or use the Contact form on our website and we will contact you right away.