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How to Determine Proper Venting for Poly Processing Tanks

(If you're looking more information on venting, check out our online resources here: 

Proper venting of chemical storage tank systems ensures safe operation and also extends the useful life of the tank. Poly Processing Company sees venting as one of the most critical parts of a safe chemical storage system. We also attach venting labels to tanks manufactured at any of our three facilities. Our goal is to give users a peace of mind and walk you through the do’s and don’ts of proper venting in order to keep it simple, safe, and effective for the end users and operators. 

Let's examine how we developed our engineered venting program and help you determine the proper venting for your polyethylene chemical storage tanks.

Tank Pressurization Study

scrubber.jpgOver-pressurization can cause major problems including tank failure. Because of the risk over-pressurization presents, we commissioned a third-party engineering firm to study the impact of pressure on pneumatically-filled chemical storage tanks with different applications or settings.

The findings from the study include:

  • The prevailing industry standard regarding venting was to use a vent one inch larger than the fill line. For example, a two-inch fill line requires a three-inch vent. The study determined the standard to be adequate if pumped mechanically.  

  • Bulk storage tanks are often pumped off a tanker truck using air. As the rate of pumping increases, so too does the chance for a surge of pressurized air entering the tank. That could result in over-pressurization with standard venting.

  • Therefore, the thinking in the market shifted. The standard for proper vent size in pneumatically-loaded polyethylene tanks is now at least double the size of the fill line. For example, a two-inch fill line means using at least a four-inch vent. Doing this allows the air to evacuate at a faster rate and reduces the risk for over-pressurization.

  • In addition, the study determined that adding length to a vent over three feet with a 90-degree bend will restrict air flow. This affects recommendations on vent size as well as the number and degree of bends in the venting system.

Choosing the Right Venting System

With those findings in mind, here are some guidelines for picking the right venting system:

  • safe-surge-manway-cover.jpgWhile vents add to the initial cost of the tank system, proper venting will help avoid far more expensive occurrences like premature tank failure or even catastrophic failure.

  • In addition to standard venting, PPC’s SAFE-Surge manway cover ensures that your tank maintains the proper ACFM at all times, even if the primary venting fails.

  • For plastic chemical storage tanks wherefumes are not a concern, the F.S. 2650® Manway Cover is a less expensive option for safely handling any air pressure FS2650tank_250_200_c1_center_center.jpgsurges.

  • The F.S. 2650 Manway Cover combines a vent and manway cover into one engineered lid system that can evacuate air volumes up to 2650 ACFM, which is well within the calculated maximum potential pressure surges resulting using both two- and three-inch fill lines (maximum ACFM from a two-inch standard line is 910; 1150 from a three-inch line).



 All of our tank venting configurations meet or exceed ASTM D-1998 guidelines for tank pressurization. For your specific polyethylene chemical storage system’s proper venting requirements, it’s best to consult with a chemical storage tank experts. For instance, scrubber applications like hydrochloric acid or acetic acid demand an engineered solution to prevent over-pressurization.

Additional venting information including the Poly Processing venting chart can be found at www.polyprocessing.com/venting.

Our venting chart is based on recommendations and criteria from Venting Design for ACFM Technical Paper. More technical information including the third party study is also available on our site.


Contact a chemical storage tank expert for more information on proper tank venting.

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Topics: Venting