The Silent Intruders: Algae, Vermin, and MIC Corrosion in Storage Tanks

Storage tanks play a crucial role in various industries, ensuring the safe containment of liquids. However, these essential assets are susceptible to several silent intruders that can compromise their integrity and efficiency over time. Algae, vermin, and Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) are three common culprits that often go unnoticed until significant damage occurs. In this blog post, we will delve into the insidious nature of these intruders, explore their detrimental effects, and discuss preventive measures to safeguard storage tanks from their destructive influence.

The microorganisms may stick to ceiling surfaces once inside the gasoline tank and/or settle through the product. Some microorganisms will stick to the tank walls, while others may gather at the fuel/water interface or at the tank bottom.

The Green Invasion: Algae and its Consequences

Algae, a group of photosynthetic organisms, may seem harmless, but their proliferation in storage tanks can wreak havoc. These microscopic plants thrive in warm and nutrient-rich environments, finding an ideal habitat within the dark and damp confines of storage tanks. Once established, algae can form thick biofilms, leading to many problems.

Firstly, these slimy biofilms can obstruct filters, pipes, and valves, impeding the flow of liquids and causing reduced operational efficiency. Furthermore, algae produce organic acids and other metabolites that accelerate corrosion, potentially leading to leakage or structural damage. The resulting contamination of stored liquids can also compromise product quality and pose health risks.

To combat algae growth, regular tank inspections and maintenance are essential. Cleaning and disinfection procedures, such as chlorination or algaecides, can help eliminate existing infestations. Additionally, implementing preventive measures like proper tank ventilation, maintaining optimal temperatures, and minimizing light exposure can discourage algae growth and preserve the integrity of storage tanks.

Unwanted Guests: Vermin and Their Impact

Vermin, including rats, mice, and insects, are another threat that can silently infiltrate storage tanks, causing significant damage. Seeking shelter, food, and water, these pests can squeeze through small openings and access tanks unnoticed. Once inside, they contaminate stored liquids with their waste, saliva, and fur, leading to potential health hazards and product spoilage.

Furthermore, vermin can chew through wiring, insulation, and structural components, compromising the tank’s integrity and creating safety risks. In some cases, their gnawing can lead to leaks or even catastrophic failures, resulting in environmental damage and costly repairs.

Preventing vermin intrusion requires a multi-faceted approach. Regular inspections for any potential entry points, such as gaps, cracks, or damaged seals, are crucial. Implementing pest control measures, such as sealing openings, installing screens, and employing traps or baits, can effectively deter vermin. Proper sanitation practices, including keeping the surrounding areas clean and removing potential food sources, are also essential in minimizing the risk of infestation.

The Unseen Menace: MIC Corrosion and its Devastating Effects

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) is a stealthy enemy that attacks storage tanks from within. MIC occurs when microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi, form colonies on the tank’s internal surfaces and produce corrosive byproducts. These byproducts can accelerate the corrosion process, leading to weakened structural integrity and potential leaks.

The presence of MIC is often challenging to detect as it does not exhibit visible signs until significant damage has already occurred. This makes preventive measures crucial in combating MIC. Coating the tank’s internal surfaces with corrosion-resistant materials, implementing cathodic protection systems, and using biocides to control microbial growth are effective preventive strategies.

Regular inspection and monitoring programs are essential for detecting early signs of MIC. Non-destructive testing techniques, such as ultrasonic thickness measurements, can assess the tank’s wall thickness and identify potential corrosion-prone areas. Timely maintenance and repairs, including cleaning and removing biofilms, are crucial to halt the progression of MIC and prolong the lifespan of storage tanks.

Protecting storage tanks from the silent intruders of algae, vermin, and MIC corrosion requires a proactive approach. Regular inspections, preventive maintenance, and the implementation of appropriate measures can prevent costly damage, maintain operational efficiency, and ensure the safety of stored liquids. By recognizing the threats posed by these intruders and taking prompt action, industries can safeguard their storage tank assets for years to come.

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