Doing Your Own Potable Water Tank Inspection
– A guideline for those who must inspect their own potable water storage tank or tower.
In Texas potable water tanks are required to be inspected inside and out each year. Of course, that is our business and we are sure that we have the best inspection, offering the most information for the lowest cost. But sometimes no matter how much we offer, or no matter how little we offer it for, the funds may not be available.
In that case follow these steps to safely inspect your own water storage tank to meet state standards.
Check the vent screen as it is the most common problem we see day after day. The chlorine & other treatment chemicals used in potable water are very hard on stainless steel mesh screens, so do not use stainless steel – it may seem like an upgrade, but it won’t last any time at all.
Next check the level of the sediment on the bottom of the tank floor. If you don’t have an underwater camera handy, you should drain the tank at least down to the level you can see the sediment on the floor. Make a note of the sediment depth & what it looks like, and make sure there are no insects, birds or other contaminants in the tank. DO NOT ENTER the tank! If you need to make entry into the tank you should follow all Confined Space Entry protocols including having at least a three- man trained team. This is really important! Chlorine gas can form above the water line in potable water storage tanks that have been treated with chlorine. In addition to that, corrosion on the steel can deplete oxygen levels in the tank making a deadly combination. Our crews go in on their own air to dive the facility or use a remote camera to make entry we NEVER ENTER THE TANK alone or unprotected.
If you choose to use an underwater camera to get a look inside, make sure it is purchased for, and only used in, potable water. Cross contamination is a serious issue that you need to be aware of! Visit our other blog at www.ronperrin.us for more information on water storage tank contamination.
If you are inspecting a tank or tower with a ladder, be sure to have the fall protection equipment you need to get the job done safely.
The proper safety equipment & training is the key to performing a water tower inspection safely.
Get a copy of the Texas State Rules for water tank inspection directly from the TCEQ here:
Some other states follow AWWA standards. Here are the main components that are required to be inspected annually in Texas, and should be included in any potable water tank inspection.
Foundation: settling, cracks, deterioration
Condition of Exterior Coating: rust, pitting, corrosion, leaks
Water Level Indicator: operable, cable access opening protected
Overflow Pipe: flap valve cover accessible, operable, sealed
Access Ladder: loose bolts or rungs
Roof: low spots for ponding water, holes along seams, rust
Air Vents: proper design, screened, sealed edges and seams
Cathodic Protection Anode Plates: secured and sealed
Roof Hatch: proper design, locked, hinge bolts secured, gasket
Interior inspections should include:
Condition of Interior Coating : Check for rust, corrosion, blistering & scaling.
Water Quality Check for:
Insects in the tank both on the surface of the water and on the interior floor.
Sediment levels on the interior floor – (Sediment can be a habitat for bacteria & other contaminants).
Is your tank a Hydro–Pressure Type Tank?
Check Operational Status: pressure release device, pressure gauge, air-water volume device
In Texas Pressure Type Tanks that are large enough to have an inspection port are required to be inspected annually.
They are also required to be opened up and have the interiors inspected at least once every five years.
All inspection reports performed in Texas should be kept on file and available for TCEQ review for five years.
http://www.watertankinspection.co has been set up as a page on this blog to assist people who need guidance to properly inspect a potable water storage tank or water tower.
This should help you gat started on your potable water tank inspections. My 157 page book is another great resource – it includes tank inspection and cleaning methods as well as state rules and common contaminants that are found in our nations water system. It is available HERE: “Inspecting & Cleaning Potable water storage”
My book is a great reference point for state rules and requirements.
The State of Florida is one of the only states, if not the only one, that requires a Florida
licensed engineer to inspect a water storage tank. For service in Florida see: http://www.floridatankinspector.com