Keeping Up With Liquid Fertilizer Tank Regulations

Api 653

It can be hard to remember when a liquid fertilizer tank needs to be inspected with no federal regulations on it. There are however, individual state statutes, regulations and insurance policies are some of the better sources to look to for guidance. It is recommended that above ground fertilizer tanks be inspected according to the risk-based API-653 inspections for storage tanks. Within this standard, there are routine monthly external in-service inspections, formal external in-service inspections, and formal out-of-service inspections are required.

Here are some pointers:

  • Oil operations permits issued by the Oil Control Program are required for above ground storage tanks with capacities of 1,000 gallons of used oil or at least10,000 gallons of virgin oil.
  • Steel above ground storage tanks with a capacity greater than 1,100 gallons must have corrosion protection for the floor of the tank.
  • All above ground storage tanks must have a secondary containment area surrounding the tank that can hold the entire contents of the largest tank within the containment area.
  • Where secondary containment areas are exposed to precipitation, all above ground storage tanks must have 10% capacity. If the secondary containment area is made of impermeable materials such as concrete or a synthetic liner, a weekly containment area check is required. For any other containment design, a containment area check is required every seventy-two hours.
  • Insurance agencies have realized that mandating inspections before issuing or re-issuing tank insurance policies not only protects their liability but also aids the tank owners. Most insurance companies are now requiring tanks to be built to API 650 specifications and abide by the requirements of API-653 inspections for storage tanks.

    API 653 sets guidelines for the frequency of formal inspections and clarifies that the inspections should be conducted by API certified inspectors. Determining when you need to carry out an inspection can be a little complicated depending on what state you’re in and the requirements of your insurance company. It is beneficial to keep a list of inspection requirements for every state and continue to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your insurance company until federal regulations are put in place.