MoniTank is an underground storage tanks risk mitigation system. MoniTank product aims at providing continuous condition monitoring system for underground storage tanks applications in order to avoid risk, structural failures and losses associated to tanks leakage and corrosion. Continuous sensor-based condition monitoring system is capable of transmitting condition of underground storage tanks online and on defect recognition software in hands of operators making it possible to inspect underground storage tanks without the need of decommissioning or downtime monitoring activity.
The underground storage of petrol in tanks, especially in close vicinity of urban and rural environment (petrol fuel station), may pose several risks e.g. fire/explosion, environmental damage, health effects when handled by individuals. Because of the large volumes of petrol used daily (only in EU >400 million liters) and large service stations network (>100,000 only in EU) and storage capacity surface and subsurface releases are likely to occur Petrol gives off highly flammable vapor even at very low temperatures. Because of the flammability of petrol vapors, service stations carry a risk of fire or explosion not common to other types of retail outlets. Petrol vapor is heavier than air and tends to sink to the lowest possible level of its surroundings and may gather in tanks, cavities, drains, pits or other low points and will travel across the ground due to gravity (down-hill) or may be carried in the direction of the wind. Petrol vapors can find their way into basements of buildings and public drains with serious consequences should the vapors come into contact with an ignition source. If released into the environment, petrol and diesel may also pollute the soil and water supplies. Whenever petrol escapes from an underground storage tank (UST) or pipelines, it can travel significant distances.
Leaking underground storage tanks are the most numerous sources of MTBE contamination (Fogg et al., 1998). It is estimated that 10-35% of underground storage tanks in the USA are leaking or fail to pass a tightness test (Page, 1989). In one survey of 3,500 tanks, only 2% of the tanks were leaking while 10% failed to pass the tightness test. However, in about 9% of the service stations surveyed petrol was found on the top of groundwater in close proximity to the station (Page report, 1989). Beside that, almost 2702 accidents between 1958 to 2007 in France occurred to due to USTs failure (ARIA database, Ministère de l’Ecologie, du Développement durable et de l’Energie, FR). The level of risk associated with fuel leakage means early detection of leaks is essential. The very high cost of fuel also means the monetary loss caused by fuel leakage should be of concern to businesses, as a 10,000 litre loss =13,500 Euros. These problem challenges and losses create an opportunity and need for continuous condition monitoring system MoniTank, a system developed to address the needs of monitoring and inspection of underground storage tanks.