Storage Tank Cleaning and Hardened Crude Oil Recycling

At SWS Environmental Services, we manage the disposal and recycling of both hazardous and non-hazardous materials with OSHA-trained technicians. We were contracted to perform tank cleaning services on a 250-foot diameter tank filled with 835 barrels of hardened crude. The crude needed to be removed and recovered as a recyclable product, to be eventually sold as off-spec oil and lubricator. Given the scope and complexity of the project, a comprehensive project planning and safety management program collaboration effort was launched.

To access the tank in a safe and cost effective way, stiffeners were welded around the door sheet and then cut into the shell with a 40,000 psi hydro-blasting unit to allow for safe entry. Once inside the tank, technicians used six 5,000 psi hydro-blasting units to cut through the hardened crude. Off-site, the crude was processed by circulating and slurrying with bio-diesel to allow for easier pumping. The now recoverable product was moved by vacuum box to a recycling facility in Kilgore, TX. The last step was to remove crude from the sides of the tank using soapy water and hydro-blasting in a final wash down.

During the progression of the tank cleaning, real-time atmospheric measurements were conducted and documented by a health and safety representative every thirty minutes, tracking oxygen level, hydrogen sulfide, lower explosive limit, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons and benzene. Because the end product was intended for reuse by a recycling company, special care was taken by the Department of Energy to ensure the off-spec crude oil met all safety specifications required by OSHA. When completed, there was a full debriefing of the success of the project for stakeholder satisfaction.

Storage Tank Cleaning and Hardened Crude Oil Recycling
Storage Tank Cleaning and Hardened Crude Oil Recycling

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Storage Tank Cleaning and Hardened Crude Oil Recycling Project Details

Business Segment:
Field Services
Customer Segment:
Petroleum Reserve Management
Equipment & Vehicles:
40,000 PSI Hydro-Blasting Units
5,000 PSI Hydro-Blasting Units
Liquid Ring Vacuum Trucks
Vacuum Boxes
Roll-Off Trucks
Disposal Methods:
Waste Streams:
Petroleum Contact Water
PPE Protection Levels:
Level C
Level D
Training / Certifications:
Confined Space Entry
Confined Space Rescue
CPR/First Aid/AED
Hot Work Program
Hydroblaster Operations
OSHA 8-Hour HAZWOPER Supervisor
OSHA Outreach Trainer
Respiratory Protection
Activities Performed:
Above Ground Storage Tank Cleaning
Atmosphere Measurement
Transportation & Disposal
Vacuum Pumping

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