Improving integrity - Bulk Storage


Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

IKM Consulting’s Alistair Kean reports on recent guidance that aims to improve the integrity of bunds and aboveground storage tanks for petroleum, petroleum products and other fuels.

Two new publications, authored by IKM Consulting*, provide the first comprehensive Europe-wide review of the design process for environmental protection, below and within bunds for above-ground storage tank (AST) design and installation. They detail good practice and provide a roadmap to allow operators and regulators to make decisions on a consistent basis. The first, Guidance on conceptual design, selection and life cycle assurance of liners intended to improve integrity of bunds to above-ground storage tanks for bulk storage of petroleum, petroleum products or other fuels, is a practical source of information for those involved in the planning, installation, management and operation of bulk storage facilities ASTs, where lined bunds are the principal type of secondary containment.

It can also be applied to other hazardous liquids stored in ASTs which are subject to the requirements of the UK’s COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulations Competent Authority (CA) Containment Policy and the European Union (EU) Directive on the Control of Major-accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances (‘Seveso II Directive’). Background information on the regulatory and practical constraints applying to bulk storage sites is compiled. In addition, there is an introduction to the concept of a staged life cycle process to the design, installation and operation of lined bund containment. The publication explains the multi-layered aspects of bund design, categorising these aspects on proposed individual bund systems and evaluating them against expected performance specifications for both newbuild and retrofit projects. As well as setting out permeability specifications and known technical and practical constraints, the publication also provides guidance on evaluation methods of bund performance during installation, operation and decommissioning.

The document contains examples, templates and checklists for bund floor liner options appraisal, geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) quality assurance, GCL verification installation planning, HDPE verification installation reporting, in-situ concrete quality assurance and sprayed concrete quality assurance. A template and guide for visual inspection of secondary containment and suggested contents for a Lifetime Integrity Pack (‘bund passport’) are included to aid the operator in fulfilling inspection and reporting requirements.

Following the principles set out in this publication should enable operating companies to design, implement and maintain liner systems efficiently and effectively and to a high degree of integrity, without needing to resort to over-design or over-engineering. The second, and complementary, publication** is currently under development. It will provide detailed technical guidance, addressing the selection, installation and ongoing quality assurance (QA) for product options involving the base system, including tank foundations, under-tank liners and leak detection systems, and combinations that can provide additional integrity underneath above-ground storage tanks.

This new publication will address the need cited under Part 4 of the PSLG (Process Safety Leadership Group) Final Report: Safety and environmental standards for fuel storage sites, which states: ‘There is no consolidated set of standards and guidance covering the options for lining systems for existing tanks addressing both the issue of what to do under the tank and the application of the selected system.’

Key performance criteria and examples of industry experience for nine tank base systems and 11 leak detection systems are reviewed and compiled in good practice guidelines, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of using products in tandem or in composite formations. Order of magnitude cost and timescale (installation and lifetime) estimates are provided for various systems in typical circumstances. Detailed QA factors are provided to ensure that the quality of product installation does not detract from its long-term performance capability.

Finally, approaches to decommissioning of release prevention barriers and leak detection systems are set out in detail with guidance on which issues should be considered during decommissioning planning. Partial (eg base system left intact) and complete decommissioning are discussed with guidance on how to plan for re-use, recycling and disposal of the various components of the system.

The document provides a roadmap for operators to follow so that operators and regulators can consider their options and make decisions on a consistent basis with practical annexes – option appraisal, QA installation and operational/ inspection templates. Together, the two documents will be a comprehensive and invaluable reference source for process safety specialists, designers, inspectors, regulators, operators, owners and others involved in design, commissioning, maintenance and decommissioning of facilities holding bulk stores of petroleum, petroleum products or other fuels in ASTs across Europe.

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