Proven techniques in Massachusetts tank testing
Tank testing helps determine the integrity of your tank, and whether or not it’s safe to continue using. If the tank isn’t safe, CommTank can recommend repairs or remove the tank so it doesn’t cause any further damage to the building, soil and groundwater. Typically issues that arise after tank testing are related to the fill, vent, and supply piping. Corrosion to the threads of the piping, or loosening of the pipes over time, can produce a failed result during the test. Damaged sensors and gauges can also affect the test and need to be replaced. CommTank can repair these issues quickly so that your fuel system is ready to be brought back on line with little or no down time.
Since testing cannot predict what will happen to the tank next year, next month or even the next day, you may want to consider replacing an underground tank with an aboveground tank. If you do choose tank testing, CommTank has years of experience in both underground tank testing and aboveground tank testing in Massachusetts. Following a proven approach perfected over the years, we test tanks and lines using ultrasonic tests, non-volumetric tests, pressure or vacuum tests, or soil or water tests below the tank. We also can locate a tank or pipe leak by using Helium or Hydrogen as a tracer gas.
Underground Storage Tank Testing
The most common tests for underground storage tank testing in Massachusetts are pressure testing, vacuum testing, and subsurface investigation.
Vacuum testing is the safest method for testing tanks that are currently in service. Fluid in a tank exerts pressure on the sidewalls of the tank so adding extra pressure could exceed the manufactures limit or exacerbate an existing problem. Vacuum testing is safe because it offsets the pressure exerted by the fuel on the bottom of the tank. Once the vacuum creates an equalization of pressure, a failing tank will lose vacuum and take in air or water from the area outside the tank and a sound tank will hold vacuum. CommTank uses the EZY 3 Locator Plus system, which is a non-volumetric acoustical system. The EZY 3 Locator Plus consists of a microphone placed in the ullage of the underground tank. The microphone is connected to the acoustic signal processor and to a head set enabling the test operator to listen to the acoustic sounds in the tank. Using the motor/blower assembly a slight negative pressure is applied to the tank system, air and/or water will be drawn into the tank if a leak exists. These acoustic signals are recognized by a certified testing operator and characterized as an ullage portion leak/hiss sound or product portion leak/bubble sound. If ground water is above the tank bottom, the conductive water sensor will be used.
The issues that limit volumetric and mass measurement technology have no impact on acoustic based systems.
Benefits of the EZY 3 Locator Plus system compared to other test systems:
- Does not require a specific capacity during test – the tank can be empty or 99% full
- Does not require a temperature stabilization period
- Tests the tank, vent piping, fuel supply and return lines
- Meets or exceeds U.S. EPA accuracy requirements for tank testing
- Produces test results in one hour
Estabrook, Inc. has certified CommTank’s technicians to operate this test system and recertifies our testers every 2 years. The tank test equipment is calibrated yearly as required by the manufacturer.
What steps are required for a tank tightness test?
- A monitoring well is checked for groundwater prior to testing to determine the vacuum level required for the test.
- The testing equipment is temporarily installed in the tank, usually through the fill pipe.
- The fuel supply and return lines are disconnected and capped.
- Access to the tank’s vent pipe is important because the vent line will be plugged with an expandable test plug.
- The tank will be taken out of service during the test for a minimum of 30 minutes.
What are the EPA regulatory requirements for tank tightness testing?
- Tightness tests must be performed periodically. New UST systems (those installed after December 1988) must have tank tightness tests every 5 years for 10 years following installation. In most cases, existing UST systems (those installed before December 1988) that have spill, overfill, and corrosion protection must have tank tightness tests every 5 years for 10 years following upgrade.
- After the applicable time period noted above, you must have a monitoring method that can be performed at least once per month.
A subsurface investigation can be used in conjunction with other tank testing methods and requires drilling or coring into the soil around the tank. The soil samples are then analyzed for the presence of petroleum constituents. The test is an effective way to determine the condition of the soil, but it cannot determine the condition of the tank. Also, the test is not accurate enough to pinpoint the location of a leak in the tank or to indicate if there’s contamination in the soil directly beneath it. Monitoring wells are important for all tank test methods because a monitoring well will show the level of groundwater during the test. Make sure the company that tests your tank uses a monitoring well because all test methods require one.
A tank submerged in water could show a false positive if the operator does not compensate for the external water pressure.
Pressure testing is used only on new tanks prior to filling to ensure they meet the manufacturer’s specification and that there was no damage done to the tank during transportation and installation. The required pressure is greater than 3 pounds per square inch but less than 5 pounds per square inch for the tank and a minimum of 50 PSI for the piping.
Stage I Vapor Recovery Testing
Required Annual Tests for Stage I Systems
Gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) must visually inspect their Stage I systems weekly and must perform the following tests of the Stage I system at least once every twelve months:
- A Pressure Decay 2-inch Test (CARB TP-201.3)
- A Vapor Tie Test (San Diego Air Pollution APCD TP-96-1, section 5.1.9)
- A Pressure/Vacuum Vent Valve Test (CARB TP-201.1E)
- A Static Torque Rotatable Adaptor Test (CARB TP-201.1B) for GDFs with EVR rotatable product adaptors and/or vapor adaptors, and
- For GDFs with a Stage I EVR system, either a Leak Rate of Drop Tube/Drain Valve Assembly Test (CARB TP-201.1C) or a Leak Rate of Drop Tube/Overfill Prevention Devices Test (CARB TP-201.1D)
Actions to take when Stage I Tests Fail
Any owner/operator of a motor vehicle fuel dispensing facility whose Stage I system fails one or more required in-use compliance tests (310 CMR 7.24(3)(e)1.), shall:
- Immediately repair or replace the incorrectly installed, non-functioning or broken component in accordance with the applicable Executive Orders and manufacturers’ guidance;
- If any Stage I system component is replaced, it shall be replaced with a CARB EVR component (except coaxial components and slip-on spill buckets may be non-EVR) and installed in accordance with applicable Executive Orders and manufacturers’ guidance;
- Retest and pass each failed test; and • Submit to the Department an Annual In-Use Compliance Certification with passing test results for all required tests on or before the facility’s Annual In-Use Compliance Certification submittal due date or within 30 days of the date of the first passing test result, whichever occurs first.
- If the Stage I system failed one or more required in-use compliance tests and the system could not be immediately repaired you must cease the transfer of motor vehicle fuel into the motor vehicle fuel storage tanks equipped with the failing Stage I system until the system is repaired in accordance with the applicable CARB Executive Orders and manufacturers’ guidance and all applicable compliance testing was conducted and passed.
Aboveground Tank Testing
Aboveground tank testing in Massachusetts involves the use of an ultrasonic test instrument that measures the thickness of the tank walls. We use this sophisticated technology because the human eye can’t determine how sound the steel is that’s holding back almost a whole ton of oil. This test, which is generally conducted on tanks larger than 1000 gallons, uses advanced algorithms to measure the thickness of the tank wall, coating, and corrosion, helping to predict the life of the tank. The ultrasonic process is non-invasive and can be conducted in about fifteen minutes. Ideally it should be performed as part of the your annual tank inspection and fuel system maintenance.
Leak Locating in Storage Tanks and Lines
If your tank or line test fails we can quickly locate the source. We take the guesswork out of finding the location of your tank or line leak. Aboveground tanks can be pressurized and tested with a leak detection bubble mix but underground tanks and lines aren’t accessible unless you excavate them. Before you make the decision to excavate, make sure you know where the source is. CommTank uses Helium or Hydrogen as a tracer gas for underground tanks because it rises to the surface where it can be detected with a small lateral spread. Helium is an inert gas and is safe to use in all tanks and piping but is subject to shortages and not always available. Hydrogen when blended with Nitrogen ensures high accuracy and has no toxic effects since the mix is classified as non-flammable. The leak detector used to measure these gases is accurate to within 2 feet in most instances and is an excellent compliment to acoustic techniques. The steps for line leak location are similar to tank leak locating but the lines are typically isolated and drained when a tank top can be accessed through a manway and sump.
For examples of our work please see the tank testing projects section of our web site.
Contact CommTank today for innovative tank testing in Massachusetts and New Hampshire: 1-800-628-8260
"Far, far exceeded my expectations for what could have been a messy and smelly job."
"All at Comm Tank made a very stressful situation for us more than manageable. The men who came to do the work were always on time, extremely polite, and hardworking."
"In 34 minutes they achieved the removal without doing any cutting inside my home! Seeing is believing, which is why I sent you, today, the photos taken of their remarkable effort."
"Recently we hired your company Comm Tank to remove an underground oil storage tank buried in our front yard for many years. We also asked you to install a new aboveground oil storage tank next to our house."
William J. Lewis.
"They left the area cleaner than they found it. They were very friendly and fully explained how the tank was to be cut and removed."
"I would recommend Commtank to anyone who needs an oil tank removed. The price for such great service was very reasonable. Truly a good experience for me and my family."
"In the 40 years that I have lived in my house I have never had anyone do so much work, rip up so much sod yet leave everything in such a clean, neat and apparently undisturbed state."
"When I called for an estimate, Margie was very informative and one of the reasons I chose CommTank to do the work."
Jack E. Meyer, M.D..
"Paul’s recommendation along with the comfort level I felt dealing with your team made my decision to choose CommTank and easy one. Should I ever hear of anyone in need of a new oil tank I would recommend CommTank without hesitation."
"I also commend Luis Diaz on his pleasant, informative phone manner when we first spoke and at the time of the site exploration. His handing of the situation convinced me to go with CommTank."
Newton Centre, Ma
"I do mean all of them…you could be proud of them and know that they represent your company in a very professional manner. In today’s world, you very rarely see this."
Billl and Barbara Clough.
"Great job, completed on time, very aware of the Safety of our tenants."
Deborah M. McClory.
"I want to thank you for the excellent work you and your crew have done at my station."
"I am emailing you with this word of “Thanks” to Comm Tank for one of the most professional companies I have used in quite sometime."
"I will recommend your company to my colleagues and clients."
"I had an oil tank removed yesterday, and the whole operation could not have gone more smoothly."
"What could have been a stressful situation actually went smoothly without any issues or surprises. I would recommend CommTank in a heart beat to anyone in need of their services."
Scott E. Lechter.
"There were many steps throughout the process and at every step I was very well informed. The scheduling, coordination and communication was simply outstanding."
"I want to thank you for your work in the oil tank removal at my mother’s house in Walpole."
"Except for the oil smell for a while, you really couldn't tell that the work had been done; EVERYTHING was neat & tidy and cleaned up both inside and out."
"Thanks for your help and the customer service that CommTank provided."
North Reading, Ma
"Your employees did a nice job and were a credit to your company in their professional work and attitude."
"Thank you for doing a very nice job!"
Prides Crossing, MA
"Your crew just left my site and they are wonderful, clean, great, and nice!"
"I would certainly recommend your company."
"These two excellent employees came early, at 7:15 a.m. Which is very appreciated by us, clients that have to leave for our jobs."
"They patched the holes left from removing the fill and vent lines like pros - I did not expect this level of service."
"Kim and I are very happy to have found you!"
"We want to tank your for a job well done while removing the underground oil tank."
"I wanted to thank you for a great job on the installation of the new fuel dispenser."
"Thank you for your donation of 200+ gallons of fuel through your CommTank Cares Program to St. Clement Parish Schools. Your generosity is certainly a help to our schools and parish."
Reverend Paulo Cumin.
"just want to express my appreciation for the excellent service that was provide to me in the removing of our 1,000 gallon underground oil tank."
"What I think I’ll never forget was how clean the basement was after the two men had removed the contaminated soil from our house. It had never looked like that!"
"Early this month your company removed my almost 40-year-old tank from my basement and installed a Roth Tank. I was extremely pleased with the results and with the crew that did the work."
"It was neat and clean and they left the area spotless. The gentleman who came back to inspect the job was kind and courteous."
"The City is extremely grateful to CommTank for its assistance in this cleanup. We believe we made a very wise choice in the selection of CommTank. Please feel free to use me as a reference for your team's pursuit of other environmental work."
Thomas G. Ambrosino.
"She called to brag about how professional the service was, and how clean and precise the installation was."
"We really appreciate the responsiveness to what was a worrying situation and the two men who performed the work were true professionals."
"This company is the best. The price was very reasonable, better than anyone else I contacted, about $300.00 less,"
"I had my oil tank and boiler removed from my home. Comm Tank showed up on time and finished the job quickly and neatly."
"I want to thank CommTank for the wonderful job that your crew did yesterday while removing and installing my oil tank."
"Thanks so much for getting your guys out here so quickly to take care of the issue. While they could not tell exactly what caused the seepage, they ended up replacing the red connector with the fill gauge to be safe."
"There were two crews on separate days that did a great job and were very knowledgeable about their job and company."
"As for me the customer, I am very pleased on the workmanship that was performed, and I would recommend ComTank to anyone that needs a new tank."
"Your workers were out at my house in Wayland last week and did a fantastic job removing the oil tank from my basement."
"The quality of their craftsmanship is buzzworthy, the work surpassed my expectations."
"They showed up on time, were extraordinarily efficient and neat, provided a comprehensive removal, and were very courteous in all our dealings."
John P Senko.
"You and your entire on-site crew, including Santiago and Carlos, all have been first-rate and first-class."
"Thank you for your competence and professionalism, your cheerful and hard-working staff, your expertise with regulations/compliance issues, and for referring us to Tommasino & Tommasino in Boston."
Richard and Kristen Henshaw.
"Please note that this appreciation comes from a person managing construction for clients for some forty years."
"Excellent work so far. We wish these guys were on all three Boston projects."
Peachtree Corners, GA
"He will refer us to anyone and will definitely be using our services again."
"Please let the crew know that I really appreciate the hard work and professionalism."
"I spoke to Cindy the other day and reiterated to her about how happy we were with our experience."
"The thorough explanation of what was to be done was excellent."
"During this past summer I had an underground oil tank removed and replaced with an indoor Roth oil tank, and was exceptionally pleased with the service."
"In my opinion they were very professional and courteous."
Mary Louise Thrower.
"Thanks again to you and your team for the high level of workmanship and customer performance you provided."
"Your company has been most professional, timely, and informative!"
"This was our first experience with your company and we were very pleased from start to finish."
"Your crew were great to work with and did a great job, although very hot out there, they continued on with no complaints."
"All of our clients are more than satisfied with the quality of CommTanks installations and LEO is as well."
"It was a pleasure having them work at my house."
"They quickly went to work and solved the problem. As worried as I was, Luis made me feel that everything was going to be ok. Luis was always there no matter how many times I called."
Jeffery J. Graham.
New Bedford, MA
"We were so pleased with the removal of the old furnace."
"They tore down part of a wall, shoveled, removed my old tank and replaced it with a new tank, also gave me some oil."
"They were courteous and professional, timely and completed everything as well as anyone could have asked."
"I have dealt with contractors before and was very impressed with your crew."
"I would hope I would never have to have a UST removed again, but if I did, you would be the first people I would call."
"They left the basement much cleaner than when they started the job."
"Kevin's response and his team’s effort to help contain and cleanup a small spill were some of the best I have seen in my 40+ years in the petroleum industry."
"The technicians were outstanding. We needed 3 tanks removed from our basement."
"Kevin Hoag and Nelson were outstanding, they showed at 8:00 AM sharp, they were very professional, explaining all steps, very polite, their work was perfect."
"CommTank just finished the UST removal job and the customer is absolutely delighted."
"Amazed that this level of customer service still exists in this day and age!!"
Jamaica Plain, Ma