Above-ground storage tanks have received the nod of approval from various designers and users. Not only are they easier to maintain; they are also more convenient to control. Depending on the design, they can also be extremely robust. But that doesn’t mean they can withstand all types of natural disasters, including hurricanes.
In cases where a natural calamity affects the integrity of the tank, API 650-compliant repairs would be necessary.
The Effects of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina affected many sectors, including gas and oil. The strong winds, torrential rains, and the impact from the storm surge all contributed to a serious oil spill. Around 100,000 gallons of oil found itself in the coastal waters of Louisiana and Texas.
Granted, Hurricane Katrina was a very strong storm. But a report on Hurricane Isaac pointed out how even “smaller storms” can have a similar impact. An alliance among environment advocates called Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) revealed how the category 1 storm caused oil pollution due to failures not only in transport but also in storage.
The Changes Needed
As the climate around the world changes, it’s possible for the country to encounter stronger hurricanes in the coming years. But until its dependency on oil and gas is weaned, many above-ground storage tanks will appear.
What one can do is limit the impact of infrastructure failures of these tanks significantly. One way is to conduct regular inspection and API 650 repairs. Only those who hold the license or have adequate training and experience should handle such tasks.
During storms, these tanks should be properly anchored to the ground. Moreover, these tanks must be built several meters away from the source of water. An adequate levee that separates the water source and the tank is also necessary.
Most of all, everyone who owns or operates an above-ground storage tank filled with hazardous chemicals such as oil and gas must have a disaster preparedness and recovery program.