Fitness-for-Service for Aboveground Storage Tanks


The identification of damage is often an inevitable part of the life cycle of industry fixed equipment.  Aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) take no exception to this rule as they can accumulate a wide range of damage—damage that is both intended for in the initial design as well as unanticipated due to service, operational upsets, environment, etc.  If unanticipated damage is discovered, repair or replacement of the affected components may be the initial reaction; however, a more favorable alternative could be a fitness-for-service (FFS) assessment to qualify continued service in the damaged condition.  FFS is a recognized industry practice for assessing equipment mechanical integrity and can often be used to extend service life while minimizing downtime and avoiding costly repairs.  This article will review the application of the API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 (API 579) FFS standard for common damage found in ASTs.  Several case studies will be provided to illustrate how FFS techniques can be used to make run-repair-replace decisions, determine remaining life, and, when repairs are unavoidable, limit the extent of repairs needed. 

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