How to Properly Maintain Steel Tanks

By: Rokai Kolam


Steel tanks come in different shapes and sizes and are used in a variety of applications. Basically, there are two types of steel tanks – the above ground tank and the underground tank.

The above ground tank needs sufficient space regardless of its size. Depending on its use, this tank can be placed indoors or outdoors.

Underground steel tanks especially those meant for water storage can be used in gardens, for general washing purposes, to flush toilets and top up swimming pools as well as in filling washing machines. It may even be utilized to provide drinking water depending on one’s location and the quality of filtering system available in your area. This type of steel tank used for storing water is usually designed to be buried in the garden, lawn, driveways, houses and garages.

It was in 1941 when the first structural design standard for water tanks got approved by the American Water Works Association. In the wine industry, the use of stainless steel tanks for wine storage, fermenting and aging purposes started in the 1950s. The steel tanks replaced the wood and concrete types as they were easy to clean, prevented wine losses and reduced exposure to oxygen which made fermentation easier.

Steel tanks, notably those above the ground, need to be installed the correct way to enable owners to maximize their usage. Ideally, a galvanized or stainless steel tank should be installed on top of a gravel foundation. The gravel container can be made of wood, steel or concrete and must be fully secured to the ground. The gravel to be used should be four to six inches deep and must be made of ½ or ¾ inch compacted crushed rock.

Proper maintenance of steel tanks is vital in ensuring its long life and optimum use. Each year, tanks must be fully inspected for any signs of mineral, chemical or organic residuals on its interior surfaces. If residuals such as algae, iron, sulfur and phosphates are present, the tank should be emptied of its content and brushed clean. After cleaning, it has to be recoated with an appropriate product. Recoating is recommended every five to seven years.

The tank’s exterior needs no special maintenance. Rust spots that may appear are usually caused by bacterial or electrolytic conditions. Should this occur, it’s best to check electrical connections to the tank and those near the tank for the purpose of proper grounding and insulation.

Check for product warranty as well. Steel tank manufacturers normally provide a warranty of seven to 10 years under normal use from the date the product was purchased. The warranty includes repair and replacement for defects in workmanship and materials used that lead to leakage and corrosion.

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Central Valley Tank (CVT) of California manufactures steel tanks according to UL, API, ASME A and AWWA specifications for different industries. Its tanks are either carbon steel, stainless steel or galvanized steel and include those for water, petroleum, dry products, agricultural and industrial use. Central Valley Tank not only sells new, used and custom steel tanks but also buys and trades all tanks whether above ground or below ground are available in all types and sizes.

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