above-ground-storage-tankIt might seem that purchasing a new above ground storage tank is a simple process. After all, you know what you plan to store, and how much you’ll need to keep on hand. How hard can it be?

The truth is, though, it’s more complicated than that. So before you buy, you would be well-advised to do more research. An above ground storage tank is a significant investment, and you want to be certain you really are making the right purchasing decision. That includes buying your tank from the right containment company.

Let’s start with the basics.
Although they are growing in popularity, an above ground storage tank is not universally accepted. You’ll need to check with your municipality or other local governing body to be sure your tank will be allowed.

Every new above ground storage tank must be constructed of steel. Beyond that, they differ in terms of types, sizes and venting systems. Exactly what you need depends on what product you’re storing, the volume and the physical location.

Your tank may need to carry a specific fire rating. And it will definitely require some type of secondary containment – either double-wall construction or a surrounding, impervious dike system.

If you plan to construct a dike, remember it needs to be large enough to hold the entire contents of your tank, not just a small spill. You don’t expect your tank to fail, but you have to be prepared for that eventuality. With a dike system, you’ll also have to periodically remove any accumulated rain water or debris.

How many tanks do you need?
Do you have future plans to expand your facility, indicating you’ll need greater storage capacity than you need right now? Buying a larger tank that you can grow into will save you money in the long run, compared to buying additional tanks later on. And one larger tank takes up less expensive land area than a series of smaller tanks.

The larger your tank, the less frequently you’ll need to refill it, too. That means fewer opportunities to spill some hazardous substance that will then require clean-up and official reporting.

So how do you choose the right containment company?
Very carefully. The quality of the above ground storage tank you purchase will directly determine its longevity and – even more important – its reliability.

Look for a containment company that has a long-standing reputation for quality workmanship – one that manufacturers its products to meet the standards set by the Steel Tank Institute, the industry’s leading organization. The company should offer a range of tanks so you choose the one most suitable for your circumstances, not just one that will “do.”

Look for a company that takes a personal interesting in helping you. They should be willing to spend time explaining your options and helping you make the right decision for your business.

The best plan is to get advice from a knowledgeable but unbiased source.
An environmental engineering firm can help evaluate your entire situation, not just help you choose the right type of tank and the right manufacturer. You’re buying an above ground storage tank for some reason, but you want to be sure it’s the best fit for your overall business operation.

Good advice from a pro will help you put the most up-to-date and easy-to-use monitoring system and inspection plan in place, too. That could save you time on weekly and monthly reporting requirements, and it will give you greater confidence knowing your tank system is top of the line and running smoothly.

Choosing the right above ground storage tank, from the right containment company, will provide a smart, safe and cost-effective solution to your storage needs, both now and in the future.

Photo Credit: Savannah River Site via Flickr