Corrosion in Storage Tanks: Early Warning Signs and How to Act

Different industries require storage tanks for their specific operations. These units are commonly used for storing liquids, gasses, chemicals, and potable water. That fact makes storage tanks an essential part of such industries and for commercial and residential uses. 

Storage tanks, however, are vulnerable to corrosion, a common and destructive problem that can lead to leaks, contaminants, structural damage, and costly repairs. In this blog post, we will explore the early warning signs of corrosion in storage tanks and discuss proactive measures to address and prevent it. Knowing this information goes a long way in ensuring the longevity and reliability of these critical assets.

Early Warning Signs of Corrosion

Even the highest quality metal piping system will corrode over time due to oxidation. Severe corrosion can lead to burst pipes, resulting in major property damage that costs thousands in repairs. So make sure to keep an eye out for these warning signs to be able to catch storage tank corrosion early:

1. Discolored Water

Water that has been discolored by corrosion may be either obvious straight from the tap, or it may leave behind stains in the sink, bathtub, or toilet tank. The most dramatically tinted water will be from the “first-draw” of the day. First-draw water is an important indicator of corrosion.

Look for consistent changes over time. Occasional discoloration unrelated to corrosion can happen after a water supply is turned back on after lengthy disuse or when work is being done on municipal lines.

2. Strange Taste

Changes to the taste of your tap water are another sign of corrosion. Corroded storage tanks for water create a metallic taste, while high levels of lead produce a sweet taste. Cold first-draw water that is bitter but goes away later in the day also indicates corrosion.

3. Leaks

While leaks can have many causes, they are probably the most obvious sign of corrosion. Frequent leaks, especially, may indicate the presence of “aggressive” corrosive water or that an aging storage tank may be due for replacement.

3. Changes in Tank Performance

Pipes that are easily clogged can also mean corrosion. Oxidation and mineral deposits can build up on the inside of pipes, narrowing them. Any sudden decrease in pressure or unusual odors may indicate corrosion-related issues.

4. Visible Damage

Corrosion can be identified by a rapid expansion in volume as the metal alters to form a corrosion product. Flaking or powdering of the surface may occur. Visible rust, pitting, or discoloration on the tank’s exterior surfaces is also an indication of corrosion in storage tanks.

Quick Solutions to Prevent the Spread of Corrosion

We at Storage Tank Inspections understand the importance of corrosion prevention. Rust and other corrosion forms can lead to safety issues and ruin the integrity of your equipment and supplies.

But there are preventive measures you can do to combat corrosion, and we will highlight these methods based on their cost and effectiveness.

1. Protective Barrier Coatings

The easiest and cheapest way to prevent corrosion is to use barrier coatings like paint, plastic, or powder. Powders, including epoxy, nylon, and urethane, adhere to the metal surface to create a thin film. Plastic and waxes are often sprayed onto metal surfaces.

Applying high-quality protective coatings to the tank’s interior and exterior surfaces is an effective way to prevent corrosion. These coatings act as a barrier, shielding the metal from corrosive substances.

2. Routine Maintenance and Inspection

Regular tank inspection is a vital part of their care. Because many corrosion reactions occur quickly, metal artifacts should be inspected monthly. Deterioration can then be noted at an early stage, and preventive measures can be taken before the damage becomes severe.

3. Storage Tank Replacement

When your storage tank is nearing the end of its service life, you will likely see a few rusty areas on its exterior surface, as well as flakes and discoloration in the water or chemicals inside. And so, for aging storage tanks, replacing them is the best solution.

Keep your Storage Tanks in Check with Storage Tank Inspections!

The battle against corrosion begins with awareness and a commitment to preventive maintenance. Corrosion in storage tanks poses a significant risk to their integrity and can result in severe consequences if left unchecked. Early detection of corrosion is crucial to prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Prioritize corrosion prevention with Storage Tank Inspections! We offer various storage tank inspection services for potable water tanks, industrial panel tanks, fire tanks, and many more! Call us today to request a free custom quote on any of our tank inspection services. 

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