• Benjamin C. Wagner

Four Ways Hurricanes Can Damage Your Fuel Tanks

Hurricanes and the impending Hurricane Florence pose great threats to USTs namely due to the intense flooding which accompanies these storms. The four main threats to a UST system from flooding are: buoyancy, erosion, product displacement and electrical system damage. Let’s examine these four and how underestimating them can cost your operation severely.


The rising water levels in the soil have been known to offset the restraining force of pavement and hold-down straps, resulting in a tank that actually lifts out of the ground, rupturing pipes and releasing product. Just as trees can be uprooted, USTs can as well. This will cause immense downtime of your operation while repairs are made.


Massive, widespread flooding can cause rapidly moving water, leading to soil erosion above and surrounding the UST, thus making it more vulnerable to damage. The shifting soil can also shift and break away, resulting in potential product release from the UST, not to mention difficulty in accessing the site for correction.

Product Displacement

When extreme rainfall occurs, it becomes inevitable that water enters sumps and it becomes possible for water to then enter the tank. As more and more water enters the tank, fuel can be pushed up and out of the tank, again resulting in product release. This is a major contributing factor for phase separation, resulting in lost product and potential damage to customers.

Electrical System Damage

Electricity and water do not mix. Therefore, extended contact with water can cause electrical equipment associated with the tank—ATG systems, STP motors, emergency shut-off switches, etc.—to fail. This poses a serious safety hazard, and is also a significant UST problem as well. No power means no operation, and they’re often difficult to get an ETA on how long they will take to fix.

Think your tanks might be susceptible to some of these threats? Contact Clean Fuels National. We can assist you in developing a plan of attack to better your overall situation while providing some much-needed peace of mind.