Many people visit the dentist twice a year to have their teeth cleaned. Even pearly white teeth still need to be cleaned to maintain oral health. Of course, a trip to the dentist might also reveal cavities. If that’s the case, the dentist will likely recommend removing the decay and filling the cavity to prevent the tooth from becoming abscessed. Regular maintenance like cleanings and cavity fillings helps keep people’s teeth healthy.

Whether it’s taking care of your teeth or your storage tank, the best practice is to have routine inspections and maintenance performed. Your teeth are supposed to last your lifetime and a tank, with proper care, can last even longer.

“The lifespan of a tank is, under the right conditions I guess, is infinite, said Hugh Haire, vice president of operations for Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group. “You still have some of the old wooden railroad tanks out west. They are in a dry environment. There’s not a lot of humidity or things of that nature. It depends a lot on the environment. There will be tanks built today and still standing in 50 years.”

PTTG offers dry, dive and ROV inspections. As the name implies, dry inspections are conducted when the tank is dry and has been taken out of service. API tank inspections require the tank to be dry. Dive and ROV inspections are performed with the tank still in service. Regardless of what method is used, our qualified inspectors will conduct paint mil thickness, ultra-sonic testing for metal thickness, cross hatch testing for adhesion, and test for the presence of lead in paint during each inspection. Fully detailed reports, full of pictures and recommendations will also be sent to the customer. ROV inspections also come with a video of the inspection.

Routine tank inspections help operators keep track of their tank’s interior condition, like if the interior lining needs replacing. Interior linings deteriorate over time. As the tank heats up and cools down depending on the season, the epoxy becomes brittle, cracks, and flakes off – exposing steel to water. The vapor zone is the area between the high-water line and the tank’s roof. It tends to see a lot of moisture and chlorine vapors. It will deteriorate steel that is not coated extremely fast.

Water tanks’ interiors should be regularly recoated. The lining should also be installed and regularly replaced inside the tank since the water lapping against the tank’s walls will eventually cause it to deteriorate. Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group can install passive cathodic protection in the form of a Zinc disc that sacrifices itself if some type of corrosion occurs. The Zinc discs can be replaced.

Water tanks’ exteriors should also be recoated regularly. The sun’s ultraviolet rays beat down on a water tank, causing the paint to fade and break down over time. Acidic bird droppings will also eat away at the paint, leaving open spots prone to rusting. Operators can have isolated spots sanded down and touched up with paint. However, if the decay is too advanced, it will require fresh coats of paint. The tank would need to be stripped of its existing coating and repainted with two or three coats of epoxy and NSF epoxy.

Larger metropolis areas have pumps that bring in water from a river or reservoir to filtrate. Smaller towers either buy water, have it piped in from the nearest large city, or tap into a well with a pump to draw water. Tanks that draw from wells tend to have more sediment buildup, Haire said, though that’s not always the case. Regardless of where the water comes from, the tank stores it until its needed for public consumption.

Tanks should be cleaned out every three or five years, depending on the location, conditions and type of tank. Regular cleanouts will get rid of sediment and buildup. Would you want to drink out of a water tank that has a foot or more of dirt, mud and other particles sitting at the bottom of it? Probably not, but many tanks will accumulate this much sediment if they are not cleaned out regularly.

Pittsburg often uses remotely operated underwater vehicles to clean out tanks. This allows the tank to remain in service. ROVs can be used in most cases as long as the sediment is not a foot deep or more. Dry cleanouts demand that the tanks be drained before any cleaning begins.

Keeping your tanks maintained help reduce expenses in the long run. Think of a trip to the dentist. Sure, it costs money to get your teeth cleaned. However, it’s cheaper to pay for regular cleanings than it is to have a root canal or some other major oral surgery. Regular inspections and maintenance help keep a storage tank operating for decades or even a century. So, yes, while there is an investment in keeping a tank in good working condition, it’s a lot cheaper than having to buy a new tank or a few new tanks in that same time span.

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