Raven Tanks’ Guide to Protecting Steel Tanks from Water: 6 Essential Tips

Steel tanks are integral in industries like oil and gas, storing crucial substances such as crude oil, gasoline, and the increasingly popular biofuel, ethanol. While renowned for their strength, steel tanks are susceptible to water-related issues that can lead to corrosion and compromise their integrity over time. 

Water, the adversary of steel tanks, can enter through various avenues, including rainwater, condensation, leaks, and improper cleaning during filling. Once inside, it promotes corrosion, rust, and even bacterial and fungal growth, jeopardizing the stored substances. To safeguard steel tanks, maintenance professionals must proactively implement measures to prevent water infiltration. Here are six tips to assist in this crucial task: 


1. Verify Tank Compatibility with All Ethanol Compositions Before deploying a steel tank for ethanol storage, confirm its compatibility with various ethanol compositions. Ethanol blends, such as E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) and E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), can impact the tank’s material and coatings differently. Ensuring the tank is designed to withstand the specific ethanol composition is crucial. 

2. Deploy Water Monitoring Tools Utilize water monitoring tools to detect and prevent water-related issues. Key tools include: 


  • Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG): Measures fuel level and temperature, detecting water or leakage and optimizing inventory management. 
  • Water-Sensitive Fuel Filters: Trap water and contaminants, with a color-changing element indicating the need for replacement. 
  • Water Paste: A chemical that changes color upon contact with water, facilitating easy identification and removal. 


3. Implement Tank Sloping Slope the tank at a rate of 1/4 inch per foot toward its supply end. This slope directs any accumulated water or sediment towards the outlet, facilitating easy removal. Additionally, it ensures the utilization of all fuel before refilling, reducing the risk of stale fuel and contamination. 

4. Use Biocide During Tank Cleaning Tank cleaning is vital for removing contaminants and preventing microbial growth. However, the cleaning process can introduce water, leading to corrosion. To counter this, use a biocide during tank cleaning—a chemical that inhibits microorganism growth and aids in water removal. 

5. Conduct Regular Inspections Routine inspections are crucial for early detection and prevention of water-related issues. Inspect for leaks, corrosion, and other damages, including testing for water presence. Examine fittings, valves, and seals to ensure the tank’s integrity. 

6. Prompt Water Removal Identify and remove water immediately upon detection during inspections or otherwise. Use pumps or other extraction methods to eliminate water promptly, preventing corrosion, contamination, and other damages to the tank and its contents. 


Conclusion: While steel tanks offer reliable storage, they demand proper maintenance to ensure effectiveness. Regular inspections, cleaning, and maintenance are indispensable, especially for extensively used steel tanks. Following these tips, tank owners and operators under Raven Tanks’ guidance can uphold the condition of their tanks, ensuring safe and dependable storage. 

For top-tier tank maintenance services, rely on Raven Tanks! Our tank specialists employ comprehensive measures to ensure your tank continues to function optimally. Request a quote today! 

Raven Engineering Group  

1800 770 899  


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