Industrial tanks, property tanks and site tanks
Chemicals are stored in both pressurised and unpressurised containers. Unpressurised tanks, i.e. those with a maximum pressure not exceeding 0.5 bar, can be divided on the basis of their intended use into industrial tanks, property tanks and site tanks ("farm tanks").
In terms of number, the majority of chemical tanks in use in Finland are small oil tanks required for property oil heating systems, of which there are around 230,000. Another large group is fuel tanks at distribution stations. These stations number around 2,000 and each have several tanks. The third group is tanks used in agriculture and forestry and at a variety of worksites.
There is plenty of information available about property oil tanks on the websites of rescue authorities and property-sector organisations. New oil tanks must be compliant with the Construction Products Directive and the SFS-EN 12285-2 standard.
Tanks used in agriculture and forestry and at worksites can either be fixed or movable. Movable tanks must also meet the requirements set for mobile containers.
Industrial tanks are usually large fixed storage installations or otherwise demanding special containers. Large storage installations are manufactured on-site. Authorisation for the placement of tanks used in industry is granted in conjunction with licensing and notification procedures. Structural inspections of tanks are conducted by authorised inspection bodies.
Placement of property tanks
Property tanks can be placed above ground or underground. An important criterion for the placement of property tanks is their relationship to groundwater areas. In important groundwater areas tanks must be installed above ground and placed in a secondary containment basin.
As a rule tanks must be constructed in compliance with relevant SFS-EN standards. Construction in conformity with standards helps ensure the safety of the tank solution.
Tanks in use
The useful life of chemical tanks is quite long. Therefore there are tank solutions in use that meet the requirements in force whenever they were first taken into use in that location. The main rule is that a tank can be used in accordance with its original authorisation in the location for which it was originally authorised. If a tank is moved to another location, it must meet the requirements in force for the new location.
Tank owners are responsible for tank use and condition. Documentation regarding tanks should be retained.
Good tank maintenance requires regular inspections. The statutory inspection obligation applies to tanks located in important groundwater areas.
Regular monitoring of tank condition is also important to minimise environmental risks and prevent financial loss. Ground clean-up following a chemical spill may be considerably expensive.