Preserve your environmental protection by maintaining storage tanks, bunds and separators

By Shirley Miles, Head of Environmental Protection

Tanks, bunds and separators are your first, second and third line of environmental protection defence. Regular maintenance of this infrastructure is essential to prevent environmental harm and keep assets working at optimum efficiency.

Under the Water Resources Act 1991 and The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016, the onus is on operators to reduce the risk of pollution incidents – and avoid increasing fines, reputational damage, and personal liability for senior officers.

Partnering with a trusted environmental protection provider can help to make sure your critical infrastructure remains compliant.

Primary containment – take care of your storage tanks

In addition to performing weekly visual checks of storage tanks, valves, pipes, and pumps, enlist a qualified technician to conduct a detailed annual inspection and service of your storage facilities. The audit should assess asset condition, remove sludge, and highlight faults for immediate repair.

You should also establish a rolling schedule of proactive storage tank maintenance, delivered by an environmental risk professional.

Tank audits and inspections

Using the latest high-pressure or ultrasonic technology, skilled engineers and specialist welders test for leaks and structural concerns, repair faulty tanks, and provide full follow-up documentation.

NDT against API standards

Non-destructive testing (NDT) analysis methods evaluate the quality of materials, fabrication, and integrity of storage tanks, pipelines, and wells, without destroying their serviceability.

Storage tank lining

Effective storage tank lining protects against deterioration and resists water and chemicals, keeping your assets performing for the long term.

Storage tank cleaning

Specialist tank cleaners use proven man-entry and non-man-entry techniques to tackle requirements, such as changes of stored product, contamination, deterioration, decommissioning, transportation, or standard upkeep.

Secondary containment – keep bunding in top condition

Bund walls are built around areas where potentially polluting materials are handled, processed, or stored – and used to capture escaped substances and prevent releases into ground or water. All above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) should be bunded to provide secondary containment.

An effective bund maintenance programme relies on regular inspection and cleaning, ensuring your secondary containment system is structurally sound and free of contaminants.

Bund audit

Routine inspections of bund condition and performance identify defects at an early stage, allowing you to address issues before they compromise integrity.

Bund cleaning

Powerful vacuums extract water or leaked tank contents, before the entire structure is jet washed to achieve a complete clean, even in the most confined, inaccessible spaces.

Bund lining

Periodic bund lining reinforcement extends asset life by up to 20 years and provides durable, hardwearing protection against deterioration, degradation, and structural weaknesses.

Tertiary containment – proactively maintain separators

Tertiary containment minimises the consequences of a major incident if your first and second-line defences fail. An oil water separator (or oil interceptor) is a crucial component, designed to trap harmful light liquids before they enter the surrounding area.

Regular oil separator maintenance and cleaning keeps pollution prevention equipment in good working order and provides vital data for service log scrutiny during environmental inspections.

Separator alarms

Work with an experienced partner to supply, install, and service a suitable alarm system to monitor oil, silt, and liquid levels within your underground separators.

Separator inspection and maintenance

Schedule a rota of six-monthly ‘in-service’ inspections to check levels and functionality of key components. Follow up with a five-yearly integrity inspection to locate fractures, displacements and groundwater ingress.

Service and inspection records – demonstrating reasonable endeavour

Adhering to regular maintenance guidelines of your primary, secondary, and tertiary containment systems should reduce the enforcement imposed should a pollution event occur. Detailed inspection and service records will also show all reasonable endeavour has been taken to avoid the incident.

Collaborating with an environmental expert will keep you a step ahead of critical asset issues – and lessen the ecological and economic impact of a worst-case scenario.

Keep your business compliant and protect the environment while reducing the risk of operational downtime

Find out how Adler and Allan reduce your risk and support you on your journey to Net-Zero through the management and maintenance of assets.

Contact our experts