What to Know About Your Tank Inspector

Not all contractors are created equal.


Routine inspections of potable water storage tanks/reservoirs are crucial, however not all contractors are created equal. Before trusting a company to inspect your tanks, here are 8 important questions you should ask!

Are you insured?

Ensuring that your tank inspector is insured for work in your Province is important for various reasons. Proper insurance provides a layer of protection in case any mishaps occur during the inspection process, safeguarding you from potential liabilities. A company with proper insurance indicates the their professionalism and commitment to compliance with local regulations and standards. By verifying their insurance, you’re not only protecting your interests but also signaling the importance of adherence to safety protocols and legal requirements. Asking about insurance coverage demonstrates diligence and responsibility, contributing to a smooth and worry-free inspection experience.

Do you follow AWWA Standards?

Asking if your tank inspector adheres to AWWA (American Water Works Association) standards is crucial for ensuring the quality and reliability of the inspection process. AWWA standards are widely recognized benchmarks, covering aspects like design, construction, and maintenance of water storage tanks. By confirming the inspector’s alignment with these standards, you’re advocating for the highest level of expertise and professionalism in evaluating your tank’s condition. It helps ensure your inspection is conducted according to best practices, enhancing the safety, efficiency, and longevity of your water storage system. Asking about AWWA standards shows your commitment to maintaining proper standards and levels of service.

What safety training and procedures do you follow?

The safety and training standards of your tank inspector’s company is essential for prioritizing both the well-being of workers and the integrity of the inspection process. Understanding the company’s safety protocols demonstrates a commitment to ensuring a secure working environment and minimizing risks during the inspection. Additionally, familiarity with their training standards provides insight into the expertise and qualifications of the inspection team, reassuring you of their capability to conduct thorough and accurate assessments. By asking about these standards, you prioritize safety, professionalism, and proficiency, laying the foundation for a reliable and trustworthy inspection experience.

Does your inspection include Cathodic Protection testing?

If your tank inspection does not include the cathodic protection system you are missing an important component in the inspection process. Cathodic Protection testing is vital to ensure your tank’s integrity and longevity. The cathodic protection system plays a critical role in preventing corrosion and thus preserving the structural integrity of the tank. By confirming its inclusion in the inspection, you prioritize predictive maintenance and risk mitigation, safeguarding your investment and ensuring regulatory compliance. Asking about the cathodic protection system shows your commitment to thoroughness and proactive maintenance, setting the stage for a thorough evaluation that addresses all aspects of your tank’s performance and safety.

Are you knowledgeable in the coatings you are inspecting?

The tank coating serves as a primary defence against corrosion and deterioration, significantly impacting the tank’s longevity and performance. By asking about the inspectors understanding of the coating, you gauge their expertise in recognizing potential issues such as delamination, cracking, or adhesion failure. This inquiry demonstrates a commitment to thoroughness and predictive maintenance, emphasizing the importance of a detailed examination to identify any coating deficiencies that may compromise the tank’s integrity. 

An important indicator of an inspectors knowledge is to ask if they hold NACE or AMPP Certification.

NACE International, formerly known as the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, and AMPP, the Association for Materials Protection and Performance, are both organizations that provide certification programs related to corrosion control and materials performance. These certifications are highly regarded in industries where corrosion prevention and control are critical, such as oil and gas, water treatment, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

NACE certifications cover a wide range of topics related to corrosion prevention, including coating inspection, cathodic protection, material selection, and corrosion engineering. Individuals can pursue various levels of certification, such as Certified Coating Inspector (CCI), Cathodic Protection Specialist (CP), or Corrosion Technician (CT), depending on their area of expertise and career goals.

AMPP certifications are similar to NACE certifications and cover various aspects of materials protection and performance. These certifications include programs such as Coating Inspector Program (CIP), Cathodic Protection Technician (CP), and Protective Coatings Specialist (PCS).

Both NACE and AMPP certifications require candidates to undergo rigorous training, pass exams, and fulfill specific experience requirements to demonstrate their competency in corrosion control and materials protection. Holding these certifications indicates a high level of expertise and proficiency in the field, making certified professionals highly sought after in industries where corrosion management is crucial for safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

Do you have procedures for disinfecting equipment before & after use?

Proper disinfection protocols reduce the risk of cross-contamination and ensure the integrity of the inspection process. By asking about these procedures, you demonstrate a commitment to safety and quality assurance, emphasizing the importance of maintaining sanitary conditions during the inspection. Clear and thorough disinfection practices not only protect the integrity of your tank and water supply but also uphold standards of professionalism and responsibility in ensuring a clean and safe working environment for both inspectors and clients. Many inspectors work in a variety of water types and can taint a water supply if proper procedures are not followed. 

What makes you qualified to inspect water tanks?

Asking a company about their qualifications and experience is crucial for ensuring the thoroughness and reliability of the inspection process. Their expertise and background provide insight into their capability to assess the condition of your tank properly. By asking about their qualifications and experience, you show your commitment to trusting only skilled professionals with a proven track record in the field. Whether through formal education, specialized training, or years of hands-on experience, knowing the inspector’s credentials and tenure in the industry helps establish confidence in their ability to deliver accurate assessments and valuable insights into your tank’s maintenance needs. Another key indicator of qualification is the companies experience in the tank business. Some companies provide inspections of all types including underwater docks, ships, piping and more – while other companies specialize only in building and inspecting tanks. 

Do you provide a detailed inspection report?

The last step to a successful inspection is receiving a comprehensive report to fully understand your tank’s condition and any necessary maintenance or repairs. A thorough inspection report not only documents the findings of the inspection but also highlights potential issues, recommended actions, and maintenance schedules. By asking about the availability of a detailed inspection report, you prioritize transparency and accountability, ensuring that you have clear documentation to inform decision-making and facilitate ongoing tank management. An inspection report should be detailed but easy to follow and include pictures of all aspects of your tank for comparison between inspections. Some companies will provide a raw video of the inspection, with some points highlighted but leaving the bulk of responsibility on you to determine what should be repaired. Trusting a tank inspector who can also perform any maintenance ensures continuity throughout the process.

Choosing the right tank inspection professional can save money and time.
Be sure you are working with qualified and experienced experts for your tank inspections. 

Asking these eight questions before letting someone into your tank is the best way to ensure you are working with only a reliable and experienced company. Don’t trust your tank inspection to just anyone, only trust a company who KNOWS TANKS.

Scott PlantNational Service Manager

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