Above ground storage tank units (AST) store many of the materials we need for our day-to-day lives. From agriculture, fertilizer, and liquid nitrogen to oil and water, ASTs offer protection and stability for storing these materials. Without them, it would be next to impossible to store or transport such materials, which in turn would create huge problems for industry and the public at large.
Because AST units are so vital, constructing and maintaining them is tightly regulated by both the government and various trade associations. One of them, the American Petroleum Institute (API), establishes guidelines for processing, transporting, and storing oil and petroleum. Their codes, referred to by API, must be adhered to by anyone involved in the industry, including those who store oil and its derivatives in AST units.
There are two codes in particular that apply to ASTs: API 650 and API 653. API 650 applies to welded steel tanks. Having gone through 12 editions, API 650 is incredibly important to AST owners across the country. Among its many stipulations is that the welding of AST units must follow the protocols outlined by the manufacturing procedure codes Weld Procedure Specifications (WPS) and the Procedure Qualification Record (PQR). In addition, all ASTs must have a containment area surrounding the actual tank that can contain all of its contents in case of a leak or spill.
API 653 standards, much like those of API 650, regulate how AST units are constructed and maintained. API 653 inspections are routine (how routine depends on the tank material as well as the substances it is storing). Businesses that use AST units need to be aware of these API 653 standards and follow them to the tee, lest face penalties from government agencies.
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