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Above Ground Fuel Storage Tanks VS Underground Fuel Storage Tanks

September 11, 2019 Above ground tanks VS Underground Tanks

When it comes to storing hazardous liquids such as petroleum, gas, and other fuels, consumers need to weigh up the benefits and risks of both tank options. Fuelchief will always recommend above ground fuel tanks, why? This is because it eliminates a variety of hazardous risks to the environment and to humans. In this article we discuss the benefits of an above ground fuel tank vs an underground fuel tanks so you are able to make a decision when it comes to your fuel solution.

Advantages of an Above Ground Storage Tank (AST) VS a Underground Storage Tank (UST)

  • Early detection of leaks – Visual inspections are possible instantly. When an underground fuel storage tank leaks it can go undetected because it cannot be visually detected  – usually the only way to detect a leaking underground fuel storage tanks LUSTs) when the ground is damp with oil or is emitting a smell at which point a significant amount of contamination has already occurred.
  • Less expensive clean-up costs – Early detection and ease of access mean less expensive clean up costs if a leak occurs. When a storage tank leaks, the property owner is liable.
  • Longer lifespan –  Underground storage tanks are more susceptible to corrosion (this process is sped up due to moisture in the soil and other factors)
  • Cleaner fuel – This is due to regular maintenance and fuel being inspected
  • Easy Relocation – Above ground fuel storage tanks can be relocated to new sites and can be sometimes sold on to new land owners.
  • Government and Environment Regulations prefer AST – Stringent regulations across Australia/NZ and many parts of the world condone the use of underground tanks due to the high-risk damage that can occur to the environment (soil, land, animals and drinking water).
  • Easier maintenance – Maintenance to AST tanks is much easier than UST’s. Many UST’s have been implemented with no man-way access, meaning that fuel can easily be contaminated as there is no option for effective cleaning.
  • More variation for clients: AST’s provide a more tailored solution for businesses. These can come in rectangular, cylindrical, and custom models.Below are some examples of undergroudn tanks and the damage that can be caused.

Image: The photo below was a costly removal of a leaking Underground Storage Tank (UST). The EPA was involved and station is still inoperable (source: online)

The photo above was a costly removal of a leaking Underground Storage Tank (UST). The EPA was involved and station is still inoperable.

Footage from Channel 10 in Eastwood, North Sydney, Australia of an underground petrol tank that exploded after an excavators bucket hit the tank and caused a spark. Damage was caused to nearby building windows up to 100 meters away. More about this incident can be read here: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/potential-risks-when-removing-underground-storage-tanks-safety-alert

Above ground storage tanks (ASTs) have begun to become the norm because they pose far less of a risk than underground storage tanks (UST). This is why they are recommended by many global environmental protection agencies.

In our opinion, it is a sensible decision and one with a lot less implication to make the ‘Above Ground’ choice. We are now in an age where the world is much more aware of the potential risks of pollution and we have very strict regulations covering fuel storage and the consequences and penalties for any neglect can be huge.

Best engineering practice and design of fuel storage tanks has continued to develop to a point where AST’s offer 100 percent integrity. This has been achieved mainly by the introduction of the self-bunded tank, advanced leak detection technology and online contents monitoring.

The Fuelchief team, along with our suppliers and manufacturers work very closely together to provide the very best solution for your application. Whether it is a small tank for a close to home operator or a large installation requiring a 4-hour fire rated SuperVault, we have the knowledge and experience to provide the solution that works for you today and future proofs you. All of our tanks will remain an asset for you as the business over, and an be relocated in future if need be.

The advantages of an above ground storage tanks extend beyond safety making it the ideal solution for both business, people and the environment.

Video: This video gives a brief overview of the above ground fuel tank to novices joining the industry or who are looking to purchase. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at [email protected]

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