Fuel Tank Refurbishment – A Guide

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Nick Saunders

Operations Manager at J.W Hinchliffe Tanks

Fuel Tank Refurbishment

Fuel Tank Refurbishment Guide

The object of this article is to provide information on the process of a fuel tank refurbishment.It must be recognised that any works on fuel and oil tanks should be carried out by a competent and experienced contractor. The contractor should adopt practices in line with guidance such as ‘Design, Construction, Modification, Maintenance and Decommissioning of Filling Stations (4th Edition), OFTEC Technical Book 3, HSE Guidance and Best Practice and all legal duties set out under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Fuel Tank Refurbishment – Before We Can Start

Before any work can begin on the externals of the tank, the internals need to be cleaned. A full methodical clean of the fuel tank is completed using pumps and suction lines to suck out any fuel left in the tank. This fuel can be stored within IBC’s ready to be introduced to the tank after refurbishment or transferred to another tank the owner may have. An operative will then proceed to enter the tank and clean it. Click here to read our article on diesel fuel tank cleaning.
It is often recommended that our fuel polishing service is utilised while a tank clean is in operation. This is because, although the tank will be clean, the fuel that was in it could be contaminated. So, by cleaning the fuel as well, it can cover all bases. If you would like more information on our fuel polishing services please click here.


The Refurbishment Process

The location of a fuel tank is really important in regard to the condition the tank will be in years to come. Many environmental factors can play a large part in the health of a tank. Factors like, over hanging trees or the tank being in direct sunlight (particularly a problem for plastic tanks) can cause bleaching and cracks. Sitting water and decaying foliage from bushes and trees can cause rust. It’s important to let customers know, so if they can trim hedges or tree canopies back it can beneficial long term.
Now the inside of the tank is clean, the outside can be prepared. The entire fuel tank will need to be sanded down. This can be done with our industrial sander and angle grinder to smooth any imperfections and to remove rust. This is done in preparation for priming to ensure the pain will stick properly to the tank. Red oxide is then used to prime the fuel tank. This is applied twice using a commercial airbrush. Red oxide is used a metal primer, it creates a protective coating that prevents rust formation on metal surfaces when exposed to varying humidity and air conditions.
Once the red oxide had fully dried, two to three coats of enamel paint can then be applied using the same method. Enamel paint is known for its durability and metal is a good substrate for application, particularly when sprayed on.
Depending on such circumstances like; the weather, size of the tank and location a fuel tank refurbishment can be done within 1 to 2 days. Meaning, minimal disruption to you. Furthermore, by getting a tank cleaned, the fuel polished and the tank refurbished it could save you thousands of pounds.


J. W. Hinchliffe (Tanks) Ltd

As a company, J W Hinchliffe (Tanks) Ltd have specialised in fuel and oil tank decommissioning for nearly 50 years. Using our own in-house team, we can offer a bespoke service to meet the needs of any client, from transport operators, to the construction and public sectors. If you would like to know more about the services we offer, please see our services page.  If you would like to contact us directly, you can email [email protected] or call directly on 01132635163 where you can speak immediately to an experienced tank decommissioning engineer. All of our work is carried out in line with current best practice and legislation. You can read more industry news through organisations such as the APEA (Association for Petroleum & Explosives Administration) by clicking here. You can follow us across our many social media channels here – LinkedinInstagram and Facebook 

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