russelAbout the Tank Guru

Russell Harrison, President of Tank Service, has 25 years of experience building, selling, servicing and modifying ISO tank containers and other types of portable tanks. He has learned from tank container industry pioneers, and enjoys teaching others. Russell lives and works in the Houston, Texas area. Please email RHarrison@tankservice.com to submit your questions.




age tank containers

Tank Guru Q&A: How Old is Too Old?

Question: This question applies to regulations which specify the age of tank containers. “My company wants to send a hazardous cargo (toxic & corrosive liquid) to the USA. Currently we are using old IMO1 (US DOT) tank containers for non-USA destinations. In specific reference to the USA, are there any …

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UN portable tank data plate

Tank Guru Q&A: Data Plates for UN Portable Tanks

Question: This question applies to data plates for UN portable tanks. “My tank is missing the data plate. What do I need to do in order to get another one?” Tank Guru: Each tank container used in international service needs to have the data plate that was affixed by the …

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Baffles - Coated ISO Tank

Tank Guru Q&A: BAFFLES – COATED ISO TANKS

Question:  This question applies to Baffles on Coated ISO Tanks.  “I have a quick question for you about baffling. Our product has such a high specific gravity (1.48) that we might be running into a weight issue if we load this container to the required 80% level. For our product …

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ISO tank linings

Tank Guru Q&A: ISO TANK LININGS

Question:  This question applies to ISO tank linings.  “Is there anything in CFR about pressure-testing lined tanks?”  Tank Guru:  Not that I’m aware of. All tanks have to be pressure tested, regardless of whether they are lined.  Additionally, the lining should be inspected visually as you would perform an interior …

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ISO tank container weight

Tank Guru Q&A: CONTAINER WEIGHT

Question:  This question applies to added container weight. “We mounted a mixer and some other equipment to our tank container.  This added equipment also added weight, so now the markings on the tank are incorrect.  What should I do?”  Tank Guru:  Now that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced the Safety Of …

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ISO tank container dimensions

Tank Guru Q&A: ISO DIMENSIONS

Question:  This question relates to ISO tank container dimensions. “We are going to set a concrete foundation for our tank container which we will use for storage purposes.  Is a 20′ ISO tank exactly 20′ long?  And what is the exact width?” Tank Guru:  Please see attached chart of ISO tank …

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owner's name

Tank Guru Q&A: OWNER’S NAME

Question:  This question relates to requirements for listing the owner’s name on an ISO tank. “We don’t want our company’s name on the tank container, because the cargo transported is very hazardous.  Can we just leave it off the data plate?”  Tank Guru:  Nope, sorry.  Under 49CFR §178.274 (Specifications for UN portable tanks), …

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PRV set to discharge above MAWP

Tank Guru Q&A: PRV SET-TO-DISCHARGE ABOVE MAWP

Question:  This question relates to PRV pressure. “Is our tank’s MAWP defined in units of PSIG or PSIA?  Can we adjust the PRV set pressure to match MAWP (or lower), instead of 10% higher?” Tank Guru: It’s definitely PSIG (gauge), not absolute. And in the case of tank containers with …

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TC impact approval

Tank Guru Q&A: TC IMPACT APPROVAL

Question:  This question relates to the TC Impact Approval spec. “I was wondering if you knew anything about the TC impact approved spec I saw recently stamped on tank containers?  I am trying to design into our new tracking device an impact monitoring capability.”  Tank Guru:  Quoting from the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the …

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Tank Guru Q&A: CONTAINER UNIT NUMBER PREFIXES

Question:  This question relates to container unit number prefixes. “How do we create our own prefix for our container unit numbers?”  Tank Guru:  Container prefixes, whether for tank containers or standard dry van containers, need to be registered with B.I.C. (the Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal) in Paris, France.  …

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Tank Guru Q&A: 80% FILLING RATIO

Question:  This question relates to the 80% filling ratio for ISO tanks. “We have a customer that wants to load a 1.17 SG product in 24000 liter tanks.  Because the product will solidify in transport as it cools, a representative from one of the Class Societies said it would be OK. …

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Standard bottom outlet valve

Tank Guru Q&A: BOTTOM DISCHARGE FITTINGS

  Question:  This question relates to bottom discharge fittings. “An IMO-1 we purchased is going to Venezuela with product in it.  I heard that it cannot ship with the camlock and cap on the outlet valve.  Can you clarify for me what is accepted?  One of our employees wants to install a blind flange …

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Tank Guru Q&A: POUNDS-PER-GALLON RATING

Question:  This question relates to the pounds per gallon rating. “On our tank trailers, we have a pound-per-gallon rating.  Is there a rating for this on our tank containers?  Do we have a maximum pound per gallon rating?” Tank Guru:  There is a definitely a maximum cargo weight you can carry, …

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Tank Guru Q&A: GRACE PERIOD ON ISO TANK INSPECTION

Question:  This question relates to ISO tank inspection. “Is there a grace period on the 2.5 year test?” Tank Guru:  Yes there is a grace period of 90 days on ISO tank inspection before or after the test due-date for the 2.5-year periodic test.  For instance, if the last 5-year hydro …

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Tank Guru Q&A: BOX TANKS AND REMOVABLE LININGS

Question:  This question relates to box tanks and removable linings. “Have you ever heard of installing a flexible lining in a tank container?  I can think of reasons why this isn’t a particularly good idea.  I’ve also been asked recently why box tanks, like those made years ago by Hoyer and Hugonnet, couldn’t …

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Tank Guru Q&A: LEVEL GAUGES FOR PORTABLE TANKS

Question:  This question applies to level gauges for portable tanks. “What are the possible alternatives of level gauges we could install on our T11 24000 liter tanks.  Would a Scully system work for this?” Tank Guru:  Scully systems are mainly intended just as overfill protection (high-level alarm) and do not provide a continuous indication …

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Tank Guru Q&A: STRESS CORROSION CRACKING

Question:  This question relates to stress corrosion cracking and pitting in ISO tanks. “Please see attached pictures of the inside of my tanks.  What is causing the pitting in this area?” Tank Guru:  I suspect that the reason for this damage may be chloride stress corrosion.  Chlorides are a problem for 300 …

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Tank Guru Q&A: PAINTING TANK FRAMES AND BARRELS

Question:  This question relates to painting tank frames and barrels. “What types of paint coatings should we put on our tank containers?” Tank Guru:  The industry standard for ocean-going containers is a zinc-rich epoxy primer on any steel surfaces, like the framework on a tank container, followed by a top coat.  It goes without saying …

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Tank Guru Q&A: TANK CONTAINER DECALS

Question:  This question relates to tank container decals. “Can I install new decals on top of old decals?” Tank Guru:  When it comes to the regulatory markings on a container, what is typically specified in various regulations is the size of the required markings and their location; NOT the manner in which …

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Tank Guru Q&A: ISO TANK GASKETS

Question:  This question relates to ISO tank gaskets. “What measurments do you need to make ISO tank gaskets?  Is it just the diagonal bolt pattern and the size of the opening?” Tank Guru:  Usually what we need to make ISO tank gaskets is the Outside Diameter, Inside Diameter, and thickness of the …

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Tank Guru Q&A: MORE ON FOOD GRADE TANKS…

I had another question today about used food grade tanks.  Now, “food grade” can mean different things to different people — from sanitary tanks (with a polished interior) for milk or like products where bacteria is a concern, to tanks for ‘food grade’ phosphoric acid or some other hazmat material. But …

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Tank Guru Q&A: FOOD GRADE ISO TANKS

Question:  This question relates to food grade ISO tanks. “Are food grade tanks exempt from hydro test, and are only leak tests required?” Tank Guru:  This is an area of confusion for many people.  It always comes back to the product being shipped.  Since most edible products are non-hazardous, then a specification packaging is …

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Tank Guru Q&A: RUBBER LININGS ON ISO TANKS

Question:  This question relates to rubber linings on ISO tanks. “Do you have any idea what a rubber lined IMO 1 would have cost before 2000 ex USA?  Carbon steel, 4 bar MAWP, 20,000 liter, manufactured in 1992 by Zenith Engineering in Singapore.” Tank Guru:  The best estimate that I can give you is …

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container size and type codes

Tank Guru Q&A: CONTAINER SIZE AND TYPE CODES

Question:  This question relates to container size and type codes. “Some of my tanks say T6 and some say T8.  What is the correct marking?” Tank Guru: If you are referring to the “Type Code” of the tank container, as in 22T6 or 22T8, it will depend on the pressure rating …

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Tank Guru Q&A: TANK RE-TESTING REQUIREMENTS

Question:  This question relates to tank re-testing requirements. “How often and what are the procedures for retesting an ISO container. (Pressure and thickness)”  Tank Guru:  Hazardous materials may only be carried in tank containers (ISO tanks) that have a valid, current 5-year or 2.5-year test certificate. A 5-year periodic test is …

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Tank Service Q&A: CLADDING FOR INSULATION REQUIRED UNDER SPECIAL PROVISION TP38

Question:  This question pertains to cladding for insulation required under special provision TP38. “Do we need to use stainless steel cladding when insulating tanks with 4″ insulation (as required for PIH products)?” Tank Guru:  The insulation requirement for toxic products which are considered an inhalation hazard (special provision TP38) is as follows: …

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intermediate bulk containers

Tank Guru Q&A: INTERMEDIATE BULK CONTAINERS – IBC TOTES

Intermediate bulk containers, or IBC’s, seem to be a commodity these days, but if you are looking for same day pick up in Houston, we stock used 304 stainless steel 550 gallon IBC totes and some 350 gallon IBC totes in our La Porte Terminal. For your convenience, we also …

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Tank Guru Q&A: RUPTURE DISK BURST PRESSURE

Question:  This question relates to rupture disk burst pressure. “What is the correct burst pressure for a 4 bar tank?  Should we install a 4.4 bar rupture disc?” Tank Guru:  The Pressure Relief Requirements for most common tank containers are stated in Section 178.275(g) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (also …

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Tank Guru Q&A: CORROSION ALLOWANCE

Question:  This question pertains to corrosion allowance. “I inspected a 1987 Consani tank.  I have a question about minimum thickness on IM-101 tank barrels.  The data plate said the thickness was 4.8mm (equivalent to 6.35mm steel).  I did not see a note that any corrosion allowance was built in.  What is …

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Tank Guru Q&A: WELCOME!

Watch this blog for answers to common questions about portable tank containers.

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