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Inspecting Underground Fire Protection Water Storage Tanks #03 - The Physical Exam
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By President Mark Davis
July 11, 2019

As with any fire protection system, the reliability of the system is only as good as the inspection and maintenance program. The good news is that underground fire protection water storage tanks have few parts needing inspection and for the most part are very reliable as long as they are full of water. However, an inspection and flow testing program should include quarterly physical inspections of all exposed components and should include an annual flow test of the system.

The photos in this News Story are from one of our repair projects back in 2010. The 30,000-gallon underground storage tank had no protective bollards and somehow, two of the pipes were broken...most likely from snow removal operations during the previous winter. However, if a person just looked at the pipes the assumption would be made that everything was just fine. As soon as the FD inspection crew touched the suction pipe and the fill pipe they realized both pipes were broken below ground because both pipes moved freely. Thus....the importance of a "physical exam" on all exposed pipes and components.

In the case of this underground tank, both pipes were broken at the tank attachment flange. Repair work required access to both flanges which meant excavation work. In the end, the excavation work and repair fittings cost way more than a couple of steel protective bollards had those bollards been installed originally.


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