A Bit of Storage Tank History

September 23, 2018 7:11 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Storage tanks have a long history of serving many different industries in the United States, such as oil refineries, water storage, grain, fertilizer and more. As a premier provider of sandblasting and painting for storage tanks in Colorado, we know how important storage tanks are to their industries.

There have been many changes to storage tanks over the past century—the market has transitioned from wooden barrels to large, aboveground steel tanks with protective coatings inside and out. If you weren’t already familiar, here’s a brief history of how far these tanks have come.

The introduction of storage tanks

Storage tanks found their place in society around the same time the automotive and industrial industries boomed in the U.S. With a rising need for oil came a similarly rising need to store the oil safely. Wooden barrels had been used to store oil previously, but this method was neither effective nor safe. Refineries needed to find a new way to store large amounts of oil for long periods of time. Thus, near the end of the 1800s, steel storage tanks began to emerge, both underground and aboveground.

Making storage tanks better

These early-use storage tanks weren’t necessarily designed with safety in mind. Some tanks storing other types of things like water or grain required fewer safety measures, but oil refineries faced some serious consequences without tank standardization. This is why organizations began to address these needs by introducing safety standards for combustible materials.

Storage tanks were also improved thanks to the adoption of arc welding. Prior to this method, steel was joined through riveting, which didn’t produce as high a quality of storage tanks.

Implementing coatings to prevent corrosion

Over time, refineries and other storage tank users began realizing that their tanks were losing inventory due to corrosion of the metal. Tank manufacturers began doing extensive research and testing to find coatings, liners and other methods of preventing corrosion of the interiors and exteriors of storage tanks. These coatings were particularly useful for oil storage, but also had beneficial applications in other materials storage, as well.

Recent shifts to aboveground tanks

While underground storage tanks were the norm for almost 100 years, particularly in the oil industry, there have been shifts in the market over the last 20 years toward aboveground tank systems, instead. Aboveground tanks are thought to have fewer problems in terms of cost, regulation and cleanup.

With aboveground tanks, owners now need to ensure the exterior of the tank is coated and sealed properly, both for aesthetic purposes and to preserve the longevity of the tank as it withstands pressure from the elements. Sandblasting, priming and painting services can help finish storage tanks and make sure they continue to hold materials for years to come.

Turn to your local storage tank expert in Colorado

If you own a storage tank in Colorado, rely on DJC Enterprises Inc. for storage tank sandblasting, priming and painting. We’ve served individual owners and small and large municipalities in the state with our top-quality workmanship for over 30 years. Call us today to learn more about our surface preparations, interior tank coatings and tank cleaning and maintenance services.

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