What To Consider When Relining Underground Tanks

In order to avoid complications such as contamination and potential business closure, the condition of your petrol station’s underground tanks should never take a backseat. For all underground tanks, there comes a point when they must be relined to preserve their integrity and ensure their safety and functionality.

To help our members better understand what to look for when relining their tanks, we spoke again with Peter and Trevor from TRL Engineering to get their expert insight. With a long industry reputation for excellence and innovation, TRL is familiar with all the ins and outs of tank maintenance and relining. Read on to find out the most important considerations before relining your petrol station’s tanks, and how TRL can help.

What are the main considerations you suggest petrol station owners think of when they are looking into relining their tanks?

There are multiple factors that should be considered before making decisions about relining. These include:

  • Security: Owners should consider the security of their fuel storage system to be paramount, as leaks can cause expensive and damaging environmental issues. For tanks over 20 years old, owners should be able to prove that they are secure against potential leaks. Preventing leaks is always easier than fixing them, as the latter causes loss of fuel, customers, profits, and can damage customer engines – not to mention the expense of time and repairs.
  • Safety: Owners should consider the safety of their tanks in respect of their business, property, customers, employees, contractors, and adjacent properties. Breaching safety protocols puts respect of all these at risk, not to mention the petrol station’s reputation and the breach of Australian safety regulations and WorkCover requirements.
  • Timing: Planning tank relining minimizes site disruptions, whereas a failure to reline may cause urgent, unplanned, and overall disruptive repairs.
  • Cost: Relining tanks as opposed to replacing or repairing them is more cost effective, as your petrol station can continue with business and trading without losing profits. Work usually finishes within a couple of weeks, and no customers are lost.
  • Quality: Owners should be confident in the quality of the lining work being done. Work done by low cost, non-accredited companies has resulted in non-compliant, sub-standard work, costing clients large sums of money.

Most owners are aware old tanks are likely to need relining eventually. How old are most of the tanks that TRL relines?

While most of our tank lining work occurs on tanks that are 20-35 years old, we often have to repair/reline leaking tanks that may only be 10-15 years old.

TRL uses Intanka linings for their work. What is the thickness of the new tank wall after it has been relined and Intanka has been installed?

Our standard Intanka Tank-in-Tank double wall monitored tank lining in 9mm thick, and is certified as fully compliant with:

  • UL 1856-2018, as a Self Structural Primary Containment & Secondary Containment tank-intank system with a monitored interstice
  • UL 1316-2018, the Standard for Fibre Reinforced Underground Tanks for Flammable & Combustible Liquids
  • Australian Standard – AS4897 – 2008

Obviously, these compliances are crucial. What issues can arise if the new tank walls don’t meet these standards?

Tank walls that are thinner than 9mm are not compliant with Australian Standard AS4897 – 2008, which requires double wall monitored tank linings. Thinner tank linings do not enable vacuum testing, as even a light vacuum on such a lining could crush it, and cause failure.

Similarly, while thinner tank linings may overcome tank leaking issues the first time with a simple plug, over time these tanks will develop additional holes, especially if the tank is near ground water. External groundwater hydrostatic pressures can penetrate small holes in the tank shell, gradually filling the space between the steel tank shell and the lining causing crushing and failure.

Finally, thinner tank linings do not have the inherent strength to withstand load pressures on a manway, unless additional mechanical support is provided to the manway itself.

Relining tanks when necessary is important, but how long can our members expect their petrol stations to be closed during the relining process?

Service stations actually do not need to close during the tank relining work! During relining work, TRL installs a barricade or fence around the tanks being serviced, allowing the site to operate normally during the process.

You mentioned that going to a reputable company for relining work is important to ensure quality and safety. How is TRL’s service different to some of the competitors?

TRL Engineering is committed to serving the industry to the highest standards. Our lining work is fully compliant with all Australian Standards and safety regulations. Our work is always on time and hassle free, with virtually zero cost overruns. Linings are guaranteed as quoted, with final lining sample swatches provided as proof.

TRL is confident in the work that we do. So much so that we offer a 30 year warranty that is formally written and iron-clad. Since commencing business in 1997 we’ve lined almost 600 tanks, have had ZERO warranty issues on our work at any point!

We care about our reputation, and go the extra mile every time to make sure our clients are 100% satisfied with our work, handling difficult situations with a can-do attitude. We have experience with all types of tank conversions, including designing and modifying fuel storage and delivery systems, converting single tank to two compartment tanks.

Take Tank Relining Seriously

As Peter and Trevor pointed out, failing to reline tanks in time, or failing to work with reputable companies can be the difference between maintenance work that keeps your petrol station in business, and closing or losing clientele while larger repairs are done. Neglecting to make important considerations when dealing with old or deteriorating tanks can cost your service station its business and reputation.

If you’re on the hunt for a company with a reputation for quality, TRL offers existing and potential clients free engineering and design consultations from one of their experienced petroleum industry engineers. They’re equipped to handle any design and installation work your petrol station may need. Don’t wait! If you have concerns about the age or integrity of your underground tanks, reach out today.

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