News & Insights

Preparing Underground Storage Tanks for Flood Conditions

February 11, 2014 | Posted in Blog

Flood conditions can cause underground storage tanks to float up to the surface and break through the ground, damaging the storage tank and the facility that uses it. You can read more about why underground storage tanks float and how to prevent their flotation in our blog on the topic. In today’s blog, we’re going to cover what you can do in the short term to prepare an underground storage tank for flood conditions, and what to do in the immediate aftermath.

Flood conditions can come about from flooding of nearby rivers, hurricanes, heavy rain, or sudden snowmelt, as we could experience this winter. From the EPA, here are some steps to take when flood conditions are in the forecast.

Before the Flood

  • Turn off electricity to the underground storage tank’s system.
  • Take a product inventory to compare with reading after the flood. This will let you know if any product was lost.
  • Fill the tank to weigh it down.
  • Secure fill caps vent pipes and other openings so no water gets in, and no product gets out.
  • Weigh down the earth or concrete pad above the tank with a dumpster or sandbags.
  • “Close the shear valve on pressurized piping to prevent releases from product dispenser lines.”

After the Flood

  • Make sure the system’s power is still off.
  • Determine if any product leaked from the tank or if any water or debris entered the tank.
  • Check the electrical system, then turn the power back on.
  • “Check release detection system for proper operation. Perform release detection again, as soon as possible after the flood.”
  • “Check all equipment including pumps, shear valves, fill pipes, and vent lines for proper operation.”
  • “Clean and empty spill buckets and sumps, including those under the dispensers and above the tanks. Inspect the piping and fittings for damage and possible leaks.”
  • “Perform an UST system tightness test to ensure integrity prior to adding product.”
  • “Test spill buckets and sumps to ensure they are tight.”
  • “Test cathodic protection to ensure it is operating properly.
prepare underground storage tank flood


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