Case Study of cleaning of storage tank that had accumulated petroleum sludge up to two inches thick within the interior sidewalls, along with heating coils covered in baked-on asphaltenes.

Site Location: Port of Brownsville, Texas
Contamination: No. 6 Crude Oil, Asphaltenes and Paraffins
Structure Treated: Above Ground Land Based Storage Tank
Effectiveness: 75 Hours Labor Reduced by 50%, Vacuum Truck Rental Time Reduced by Half

Case Study Cleaning of a Large Storage Tank

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Cleaning of Storage Tank that had Accumulated Petroleum Sludge 1Project scope: Complete cleaning of a large land based storage tank that had accumulated petroleum sludge up to two inches thick within the interior sidewalls along with heating coils covered in baked on asphaltenes.

Challenge: Seeking to step away from traditional cleaning methods, the customer contacted TerraHydroChem for a more cost-effective and time-efficient solution. Conventional cleaning methods, on average, take upwards of 75 hours to complete a job and require personnel to physically enter the tank, exposing them to hazardous contaminants and dangerous high-temperature pressure washers.

Cleaning of Storage Tank that had Accumulated Petroleum Sludge 2Situation: To execute a project of this scale, traditional cleaning methods require the application of off-the-shelf surfactants and other cleaning materials, including manually scrubbing the inside surface walls with brushes, followed by the spraying of those walls with high-temperature pressure washers. Another major concern is the discharge of up to 3,000 gallons per tank of contaminated water.

Solution: TerraHydroChem’s nanoscale technology produces products that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly and fully biodegradable in 28 days. Formulated from plant-based derivatives, our products minimize wastes by converting tank sludge into a liquid that flows to the bottom of the structure, allowing operators to easily pump out the oil and other fluids. This is achieved through TerraHydroChem’s two-step process that first applies our solvent called TerraSolveTM, followed by the application of our finishing rinse called TerraCleanseTM.

Cleaning of Storage Tank that had Accumulated Petroleum Sludge 3Step 1: Using a low-pressure sprayer, we applied TerraSolve™ to the inner walls of the tank. The solvent works fast, about 20 minutes, liquefying the media and releasing the deposits gripping the surface of the tank.

Step 2: We then rinsed the inside of the tank with our super-concentrated nanoscale formulation, TerraCleanse™. Diluted with water at a rate of 1:500, TerraCleanse™ is applied with a pressure washer, (we use non-heated pressure washers, important to maintain the integrity of the vinyl-coated lining of the tanks). The rinse acts to desorb the remaining oil from the surface, leaving it clean and residue-free.

Results: The operator found that using TerraHydroChem’s two-step cleaning process with TerraSolve™ followed by TerraCleanse™ was much more effective than competing cleaning systems, while allowing the tank owner to put the tank back in service in less than half the time than before. The operator cut total tank cleaning time by 50%, significantly reducing labor and equipment hours. For a single storage tank, total costs were slashed by 59%. The contractor, whom has been in the service industry for 10 years, said “I’ve used dozens of products, and tried everything I can get my hands on and TerraHydroChem has a product that I truly believe is the answer. It’s saving us time which is money, disposal fees which is money and down time, giving us the competitive edge we need.”

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