Cathodic Protection FAQ

Q: How do I know if my cathodic protection system is adequately protecting my tanks and lines?

A: Before a CP system is installed at a site, a cathodic protection design survey is conducted to design and install a cathodic protection system that is site specific to the UST system. System requirements can vary from site to site based on a number of things: soil, amount of steel in the ground, surrounding steel structures, electrical continuity, tank coatings, and associated piping. It is important that cathodic protection systems be designed and installed by cathodic protection specialists. After installation of the cathodic protection system, a CP survey report should be provided to the owner demonstrating that the CP system is protecting the buried exterior metallic surfaces of the tanks and/or lines from corrosion. Additionally, periodic monitoring of the rectifier for proper output and subsequent CP surveys must be performed to insure the system is still working as designed.

 

Q: There is a red light displayed on my rectifier. What do I do and what does this mean?

A:  The red light is a warning to you that your UST system is not receiving the correct amount of cathodic protection current that it needs to protect your tanks and lines against corrosion. It is an indicator that your tanks and lines may be corroding. Do not ignore this warning. You need to have a cathodic protection tester troubleshoot possible problems with the equipment.

 

Q: How often do I need to record the amperage and voltage on my rectifier?

A:  It is recommended that you check your impressed current system every 30 days and the results of the rectifier output recorded. Although you are only required to monitor and record the rectifier readings every 60 days for proper operation, it is easier to remember to check monthly. Impressed current systems in Illinois and Maine must be inspected every 30-days. A recommended range for proper operation should be provided to the tank owner by the CP installer/tester.

 

Q: How often do I have to survey my cathodic protection system?

A:  In most states, cathodic protection systems are required to be surveyed by a cathodic protection tester within six months of the CP installation or repair and every 3-years thereafter. However, Maine, Florida, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin require that impressed current cathodic protection systems be certified annually. Rhode Island requires cathodic protection surveys every 2-years. Field retrofitted sacrificial cathodic protection systems may also be required to be inspected annually. You should check with your state environmental regulatory agency or call Tanknology to confirm cathodic protection survey requirements in your state.

 

Q: How do I know if the cathodic inspection personnel are qualified to provide inspections?

A:  It is important that the individual have cathodic protection experience. The individual should be certified as a CP tester by accredited associations like the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) or Steel Tank Institute (STI) or be supervised by a NACE cathodic protection specialist.

 

Q: I have changed my lines to fiberglass but still have buried steel flex connectors. Do I still have to protect them against corrosion?

A:  Yes. Cathodic protection is required on buried or submerged metallic flex connectors and must be certified every 3 years or annually depending on location

 

Q: How long do I have to maintain the records the EPA and state regulatory agencies require for cathodic protection systems?

A:  Per EPA requirements, you must be able to provide the last two, three-year cathodic protection surveys if requested. You also need to be able to provide the last three 60 day rectifier inspections. State requirements may be more stringent. It is recommended that all records (installation, repair, and testing) pertaining to your cathodic protection system be maintained. If proof of proper operation of the cathodic protection system can not be provided, fines can be given, tank integrity tests required, or the tank system may have to be removed.

 

Q: If I perform other repairs to my UST system, should I have a cathodic protection survey performed afterwards?

A:  Yes, any work performed around the UST cathodic protection system could cause the cathodic protection system to not work properly. A post repair cathodic protection survey should be performed to ensure that the CP system is still working properly.




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