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For companies that have above ground storage tanks (ASTs) containing petroleum products and hazardous materials it is vital to have a proper integrity testing and inspection program in place.  The consequences of tank failures can be drastic, with the potential to destroy a corporate image, create safety and human health risks, incur environmental remediation expenses, and result in other pollution-related legal liability.

Not only does having risk management  procedures in place minimize potential costs involved with loss of product and site remediation, but it also helps reduce operational downtime, inspection costs, and business interruption.  Additionally, it’s important for AST operators to understand and comply with the various regulations and standards associated with their tanks to avoid regulatory agency fines and penalties.

There are numerous facets that must be evaluated when implementing an adequate risk based AST integrity testing and inspection program – from the age and design of the tank to the potential consequences of a release.  An effective risk-based inspection program can help improve inspection schedules and establish a useful life expectancy of the tank.  In order to have an effective testing and inspection program, an organization should involve qualified personnel in the program development, inspection and review.  Further, training programs for staff involved with the operation of the tank should incorporate written procedures/guidance, especially in regards to emergency spill response. When utilized correctly, risk based AST testing and inspection programs can play a great part in determining an organization’s long-term success.  

For more information on AST risk-based integrity assessments, download XL Catlin’s risk bulletin.