When to Inspect Water Tanks & Towers

Posted by Christine Gunsaullus on Thursday, July 28, 2016

Water Tank Inspection Image

I’ve noticed lately that time speeds up as I get older. Something I thought happened just a couple years ago, was actually five or six.

We see this happen with some of our clients regarding inspecting their potable water tanks. The AWWA M42-13 Manual of Water Supply Practices: Steel Water-Storage Tanks recommends that tanks be inspected, inside and out, at least once every three to five years. But tanks often fall into the proverbial “out of sight, out of mind” cliché, so five years stretches into ten, or funds reserved for inspections get shifted to fix unexpected issues like main leaks and potholes because they are squeaky wheels, while the tanks can be silently degrading.

what’s the benefit of regular inspections?

Inspections can identify minor deficiencies that can be corrected now, before they become major, expensive, and time-consuming problems. By using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) or diver, tanks don’t even need to be drained, easing operational concerns. The Revised Total Coliform Rule identifies storage tanks as a prime location for water quality issues, so a current inspection will give you data to make informed decisions on the risks your tanks pose.

And it’s not just potable water tanks. Fire protection tanks require interior inspections per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 25 every five years. Wastewater tank inspections are seldom done, but I would argue, should be done as frequently as water tank inspections, given that there is typically more equipment in them, so the inspections may be more critical.

when & how to get started?

If your tanks have fallen out of the regular inspection cycle, now is the time to put this low-cost item (about $3,000 to $4,000 per tank for an ROV) in your budget for the coming year. If needed, we can help you determine the best means of inspecting your tank (ROV, dive, or dry), and help you coordinate with a qualified tank inspection firm. Afterward, we will help you understand the recommendations from the inspection report, identify risk areas, and help you plan and budget for the future. Read my updated blog: Drone Water Tank Inspections: Best Practices.

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Christine Gunsaullus Photo

Christine Gunsaullus

storage tank queen

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Categories: Municipal Infrastructure

Tagged: Potable Water  |  Wastewater  |  Engineering

Add a Comment

I appreciate the information on how and when to inspect water tanks. I agree that regular inspection of water tanks can help you to avoid any of the big problems that come along, regular inspections can help you take care of the problem while it is small. I would imagine that it isn't too cheap to have them inspected, but it is a lot cheaper than having a major repair done.
Posted by Ben Allen on Thursday, January 5, 2017, 2:33 PM

I see tanks around town that have fallen "out of sight, out of mind" like you talked about. I've always wondered how they are maintained and how people inspect them for safety. They service a lot of people so I agree that they should be inspected often.
Posted by Derek Dewitt on Friday, July 28, 2017, 11:06 AM

Thank You for sharing nice info.
Posted by manjuarmulla on Friday, August 9, 2019, 6:49 AM