Complacency about aboveground heating oil tanks poses risks for your business as well as for your customers. The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has identified heating oil tank safety as "the most important issue affecting the heating oil industry .." The main safety concern is to avoid the accidental release of fuel oil from the oil tank itself or from other tank system components, such as fill or vent piping, oil supply line, etc.

Most Oilheat Dealers inspect, or at least look at, some of the tanks that they deliver to. The tanks which are most likely to get checked are ones that are covered by service contracts or special tank programs - but, for most Dealers, that leaves the majority of customer tanks unchecked. These unseen tanks should be viewed as "strangers", and delivering to them blindly is very risky business.

For aboveground tanks, regular visual tank inspection by qualified Oilheat Service Technicians is probably the best action that an Oilheat Dealer can take to minimize the risk of tank failures. This has been the industry norm and is still the best approach to tank evaluation. This practice is recommended by NORA, by tank manufacturers and by insurance companies.

Visual inspections can catch most of the problems with tanks and tank systems. Corrosion inside the tank cannot be seen, but most internal corrosion leaks develop slowly and will be noticed as a wet spot on the tank exterior by visual inspections before there is a release of oil. Installing inexpensive leak containment trays under oil tanks will offer protection between inspections and prevent damage from most corrosion leaks.

The great value of early detection of deficiencies is to be able to recommend corrective service or a tank replacement before there is a significant problem. Spill avoidance is the reason that insurance companies want Oilheat Dealers to inspect tanks.

Your goal should be to inspect every tank that you deliver to. Why risk a major liability claim, and maybe your company, by delivering blindly to one of the "stranger" tanks?

Obviously, inspecting all the tanks will take extra effort on your part, but you can maximize the value of this effort by keeping the inspection information in a way that will allow it to be useful in the future. Storing this information in an interactive database is the key to leveraging the inspection effort and making it work for you. Our new TANK CHECK™ oil tank tracking system can give you the tools you need to store your tank information in an easily accessible format and to evaluate each tank for safety risk factors.

TANK CHECK™ is an inexpensive web based software system that will give both you and your customers vital information about tank safety. It can be an important management tool for you, and it can be presented as a valuable added benefit for your customers. TANK TANK CHECK™ can be used as a stand-alone service or as an enhancement to the TANK-GUARD® corrosion protection and warranty program. You can learn about TANK CHECK™ on the internet at: www.tankcheck.com.