Common Issues Uncovered During Api 653 Tank Inspections

You have been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that your company’s storage tanks are safe and reliable. To achieve this, you need to conduct regular inspections to identify any potential issues that could compromise the integrity of the tanks.

One such inspection is the API 653 tank inspection, which is a comprehensive assessment of above-ground storage tanks (AST) in order to ensure they meet industry standards.

During an API 653 tank inspection, several common issues may be uncovered that require immediate attention. These include:

– corrosion
– leaks
– welding defects
– tank settlement
– overfilling and underfilling

Understanding these issues and their underlying causes can help you take proactive steps to prevent them from happening in the first place or address them before they become serious problems.

In this article, we will explore each of these issues in detail so that you can better understand what to look out for during your next API 653 tank inspection.

Key Takeaways

– Corrosion is a common issue uncovered during API 653 tank inspections, and it can be caused by various factors such as exposure to corrosive materials and improper maintenance/repair.
– Leaks can also be a problem and can be caused by improper installation, material defects, and corrosion. Proper coating and cathodic protection systems can help prevent them.
– Welding defects can compromise the integrity of the tank and lead to leaks and safety hazards. Non-destructive testing techniques can be used to detect them, and repair options include grinding, welding, and patching.
– Tank settlement can cause safety concerns and lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly. Suitable foundations and reinforcing materials can mitigate tank settlement.


Uh oh, looks like we’ve got some serious corrosion going on in this tank. This is one of the most common issues that inspectors uncover during an API 653 tank inspection.

Corrosion can occur due to a variety of factors, such as exposure to corrosive materials, improper maintenance or repair, and even environmental conditions. Preventive measures can be taken to avoid corrosion and prolong the lifespan of the tank.

One key step is to ensure that the proper coating and lining materials are used during construction or repair. Additionally, regular inspections and maintenance should be performed to identify any potential signs of corrosion early on before they become more severe and costly to fix.

Failure to address corrosion can have a significant impact on the tank’s lifespan and performance, leading to leaks and other safety concerns down the line. Speaking of leaks…


You may notice leaks during your tank inspection, which can appear as drops or puddles on the ground surrounding the tank, indicating potential corrosion or damage to the tank’s shell. Leaks are a common issue found during API 653 inspections that can lead to serious problems if left unaddressed.

Causes of leaks can include improper installation, material defects, and corrosion. Prevention of leaks is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your tank and ensuring safety in your facility. Regular inspections and maintenance can identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Proper coating and cathodic protection systems can also help prevent corrosion from occurring and causing leaks. By taking proactive measures to prevent leaks, you can avoid costly repairs and downtime for your operations.

It’s important to note that welding defects are another common issue uncovered during API 653 inspections that require attention.

Welding Defects

As an API 653 tank inspector, you need to be aware of welding defects that can occur during tank construction or maintenance. These defects can compromise the integrity of the tank and lead to leaks and other safety hazards.

In this discussion, we’ll cover the types of welding defects that commonly occur in tanks, how to detect them during inspections, and repair options available to address these issues.

Types of Welding Defects

One of the most common issues uncovered during API 653 tank inspections are types of welding defects, which can greatly affect the integrity and safety of the tank. These welding defects can occur due to a variety of reasons such as improper welding process or lack of quality control.

Here are some examples of different types of welding defects that may be found during an inspection:

– Porosity: This is caused by gas bubbles being trapped in the weld and can weaken it over time.

– Undercutting: This occurs when part of the base metal is melted away from the weld, creating a groove that weakens the joint.

– Cracks: These can form due to high stress on the weld or poor quality control during fabrication.

– Lack of fusion: This happens when there is not enough heat or pressure applied during welding, resulting in incomplete bonding.

It’s important to detect these types of welding defects early on in order to prevent any further damage to the tank. In the next section, we’ll discuss methods for detecting these defects before they become a larger issue.

Detection of Welding Defects

Detecting welding defects in your tank is crucial for ensuring the safety and longevity of your equipment. To do this, a thorough welding inspection should be conducted regularly by certified professionals. The inspection process involves evaluating the quality of the welds using non-destructive testing techniques. These techniques include ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle testing, liquid penetrant testing, and radiographic testing.

Ultrasonic testing involves using high-frequency sound waves to detect internal flaws within the weld. Magnetic particle testing is used to identify surface cracks or other discontinuities in ferromagnetic materials, while liquid penetrant testing utilizes dye that seeps into any surface cracks or pores. Radiographic testing uses X-rays or gamma rays to scan through the metal and detect any defects.

Through these inspections, any welding defects can be identified early on and addressed promptly before they lead to more severe problems. Now, let’s take a look at some repair options for these issues.

Repair Options

Now that you understand how welding defects are detected during API 653 tank inspections, it’s important to discuss repair options. There are several techniques available for repairing welded joints, including grinding, welding, and patching. The repair technique used depends on the severity of the defect and the thickness of the tank material.

Cost analysis is an essential aspect of choosing a repair technique. Grinding is often the least expensive option but may not be feasible for larger defects or thicker materials. Welding can be more costly but may provide a stronger and longer-lasting repair solution. Patching is another option but may not be suitable for all types of defects. Ultimately, a cost-benefit analysis must be performed to determine which repair technique is most appropriate for each specific situation.

Moving forward, let’s discuss another common issue uncovered during API 653 tank inspections: tank settlement.

Tank Settlement

Tank settlement can cause serious safety concerns and lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly. When a tank settles, the foundation may crack or experience soil compaction, leading to uneven distribution of weight and stress on the tank walls. This can result in deformations, leaks, or even catastrophic failures that could endanger people and the environment. Therefore, it’s essential to monitor tank settlement regularly and take corrective actions as needed.

To prevent or mitigate tank settlement, you may consider implementing some of these measures:

– Conducting geotechnical investigations before building a storage tank to determine soil properties and potential hazards.
– Installing suitable foundations that distribute load evenly across the ground and prevent subsidence due to settling.
– Using reinforcing materials such as concrete collars or ring walls around tanks to provide additional support against lateral forces.
– Regularly monitoring settlement using level surveys or other methods and taking timely measures such as grouting, underpinning, or jacking up the tank if necessary.

Now let’s move on to another common issue that may affect your tanks: overfilling and underfilling.

Overfilling and Underfilling

Don’t risk costly damage or dangerous spills – keep your tanks properly filled with these tips for preventing overfilling and underfilling.

Overfilling can cause the tank to rupture, leading to hazardous material spills and environmental contamination. It can also result in equipment damage, such as buckling of the tank’s roof or shell. To prevent overfilling, install an automatic shut-off system that will stop filling once the tank reaches a certain level. Regularly check this system for proper functioning.

On the other hand, underfilling can also have serious consequences. When a tank is not filled to its intended capacity, it can lead to excessive vapor space and increased risk of corrosion of the upper portions of the tank. Additionally, if there is not enough liquid inside the tank during loading or unloading operations, static electricity can build up and create sparks that may ignite flammable vapors.

To avoid these problems, ensure that your tanks are always filled to their recommended levels by periodically checking them during operation and maintenance activities. By following these guidelines for proper filling levels, you can help prevent accidents and protect both people and the environment from harm.


Congratulations! You’ve completed your API 653 tank inspection and identified a number of common issues that require attention.

Corrosion is one of the most significant problems discovered during inspections, as it can weaken the tank’s structural integrity over time.

Leaks are another major concern, as they can lead to environmental damage and safety hazards.

Welding defects are also frequently uncovered during inspections. These defects can be caused by poor workmanship or inadequate welding procedures, and can compromise the tank’s ability to withstand pressure and stress.

Tank settlement is another issue that may need to be addressed, as it can cause deformation or stress on the tank walls.

Lastly, overfilling or underfilling tanks could result in costly damages or accidents that could have been avoided if proper guidelines were followed.

In conclusion, identifying these issues during an API 653 tank inspection is crucial for maintaining safe and reliable operations in your facility. By addressing these concerns promptly with appropriate repairs and maintenance strategies, you can ensure that your tanks will continue to serve their intended purpose for years to come.

Remember, regular inspections are essential for detecting potential problems before they become more serious issues down the line.

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