Can you name one of the most common things companies forget to consider when purchasing a tank?
Surprisingly, many operations do not consider how they will fully drain their tanks in advance of purchasing it. It’s not until afterward that they realize the need to find a solution. However, this decision should be made in advance because it is a critical part of tank maintenance and chemical purity process.
There are safe and effective methods for fully draining your chemical tanks, and there are also methods that can be hazardous or insufficient for the specific application. In this article, we explore the hazards of improper tank drainage and give our recommendations for ensuring a full and safe drain system.
Hazards of Improper Tank Drainage
We’ve seen first-hand how end users who can’t fully drain their chemical storage tanks or use improper full-drain practices have issues with their tank systems.. These methods can be hazardous to your chemicals, your equipment, and your personnel. Let’s review three different situations, so your company can avoid common, improper outlet designs.
1. Residual chemicals and free radicals
If your chemical storage tank does not fully drain, residual chemicals get left behind. Over time, as more chemical is added and not fully drained, the remnants continue to build. This pattern can compromise the quality of each new batch of chemicals.
In some cases, these residuals contain salts, metals and other compounds, which mix with the new batch of chemicals and can create less than desired results. In Sodium Hypochlorite storage for example, free radicals can be released when the new chemical meets the residuals and can attack the interior surface of the tank causing damage and compromise to the integrity of your chemical storage system.
Full tank drainage removes all of the residuals from the tank, helping to maintain chemical purity and protect the structural integrity of the tank.
2. Hazardous tank cleaning
In most cases, chemical tanks should be cleaned according to a regular maintenance cycle. If you don’t have a proper full-drain system, your employees in many cases will need to enter the tank and clean it by hand. That poses the risk of physically contacting or inhaling hazardous chemicals in a confined space. A full-drain system minimizes this risk because employees are able to safely clean the tank using a pressure washer or an installed spray ball without entering the tank.
3. Compromised structural integrity
To get a full drain, many companies install fittings at the bottom of their tanks’ sidewalls. Unfortunately, the solution creates additional problems that can’t be completely fixed. The solution is to install fittings in the knuckle radius of the tank. Remember, this is a curved surface, which means the tank isn’t completely flush with the fitting. Eventually, a leak can develop. You can patch the problem, but it’s not an ideal fix, and the site will be susceptible to leaks for the life of the tank.
Even when the fitting is installed just above the knuckle radius, on the flat surface of the tank, leaks are a possibility. In addition, there are a few critical things to consider:
- Installed fittings have multiple components, with different thermal expansion and contraction coefficients.
- The tank outlets and threaded plumbing create opportunities for leak points at the bottom of the storage tank.
- Full drainage isn’t possible because the fitting is located above the knuckle radius.
A Better and Safer Full-Drain System for Your Tank
Poly Processing has a safe, full-drain option that preserves the integrity of your tank in a way that no molded or inserted metallic fitting can provide. Our innovative Integrally Molded Flanged Outlet (IMFO®) system is a chemical storage tank with a drain fitting that is a part of the tank itself. There are no inserts, mechanical fittings or multiple components to the fitting. The flange molds while the tank is processing, making it a stress-free part of the tank. The flange is created from the same material as the tank – it’s not an insert that’s added to a tank.
Get more details about the IMFO system and discover the advantages over other drain systems by downloading our full drain eBook.