It is that time of year again when most liquid fertilizer tanks are empty after the spring fertilizer season. This is the perfect time to have an API 653 inspection performed on your above ground storage tank. The question is whether your tank is in need of an inspection.
No federal regulations exist as to when a liquid fertilizer tank must have an inspection, so there are other sources that can guide you. Such sources include state regulations, guidelines from The Fertilizer Institute, and even your insurance company.
Most states have a requirement on how often a liquid fertilizer tank must have an API 653 inspection. This is usually tied to obtaining or renewing an operating permit or license. If you operate in one of these states, you are likely well aware of the requirements. Such requirements in other states are not tied to licenses or permits, so you would need to look up the regulation. Most inspection requirements are made by government agencies, so they will be contained in the agency regulations as opposed to being a state statute. The best way to start searching is to contact the agricultural agency in your state or you can simply call us at Heartland Tank Services for guidance. Heartland Tank Services tracks all state inspection requirements and can assist you in determining when your next inspection is required.
If no regulations exist in your state, The Fertilizer Institute recommends a routine of various types of inspections. It suggests conducting monthly “Walk-Around” inspections performed by the tank owner to look for visual clues of any weakness in the tank. The other types of inspections are Forma External In-Service Inspections and Formal Internal Out-of-Service Inspections. The formal inspections should be conducted by a certified API 653 inspector. As to the frequency, TFI adheres to the timelines in the API 653 code.
Insurance agencies may be a source of inspection requirements that did not come to mind. However with the uptick in fertilizer related incidents in the past couple of years, insurance agencies have increased mandates in their policies to protect them from liability as well as keeping their client safe as well. Most insurance companies will require large liquid fertilizer tanks to be built to API 650 specifications and be inspected according to the API 653 Standard. To prevent duplication of inspection needs between state permitting and insurance renewals, talk with your insurance agent to work on a plan to coordinate both requirements to be satisfied by one inspection.
Finally, the best source for when to conduct formal inspections is the API 653 Standard itself. Section 18.104.22.168 of the API 653 Standard recommends a formal external inspection every 5 years or a calculation of years based on the current shell thickness and shell corrosion rate. For a formal internal API 653 tank inspection, it depends on whether the tank uses an internal coating or flexible liner system. With an internal system, an inspection should be performed every 5 years. All other tanks should have a formal internal inspection based on corrosion rates but should not exceed conducting the inspection every 10 years.
Want to learn more about Heartland Tank Services API 653 Tank Inspection Services? You can call us at 800-774-3230 or visit our Inspection Page.