FAQ

Q. Are collapsible fuel tanks an acceptable means of fuel storage under the Canada Environment Protection Act?
A. Collapsible Fuel Tanks , "bladders," or "pillow tanks" are an acceptable method of storing petroleum products providing they are constructed, installed, and maintained in accordance with the following regulations:
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, June 2008: 281
Environment Canada Technical Guidance Document for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks. Aug, 20093
INAC Best Practices for the Storage of Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Crown Land in Nunavut: pg 3&6

These environmental guidelines cover the regulations for the construction, capacity, installation, identification, record keeping, inspection, monitoring, service life, secondary containment , transfer , and hazardous materials management or spill containment plans needed of above ground storage of fuel products.

Construction: Bladder storage systems or pillow tanks must be built from supported polymer fabric, all seams must be radio frequency welded. They must be designed for the specific fuel being stored and the environment of use ( arctic , jungle , desert , etc).
Environment Canada Technical Guidance Documents for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks: Aug, 20093

Capacity: A fuel bladder shall not have a capacity of larger than 125,000 L.
Environment Canada Technical Guidance Documents for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks: Aug, 20093

Installation: Bladder storage systems or collapsible bladder tanks must be installed by approved personnel or the installation must be supervised by a professional engineer.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, June 2008: 33.1

Identification: Bladder storage systems must be identified using the same system of identification for all above ground storage tanks. Forms are available at www.ec.gov.ca/st-rs .

Leak and Spill Response: The owner of each registered storage tank system shall prepare and maintain a HAZMAT management strategy or emergency response contingency plan, through the use of spill kits or other spill containment supplies . These spill supplies are also available through Raymac Environmental Services, a Canadian company.
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products: Section 8.9

Record Keeping, Inspection, and Monitoring: The owner or operator of a bladder storage system must keep a record of inventory control, inspections, and maintenance for at least 7 years.
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products: Section 8.11.1

Service Life: The service life of a bladder storage system cannot exceed 10 years.
Environment Canada Technical Guidance Document for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks (Aug. 2009) 3

Secondary Containment : Bladder storage systems must include secondary containment. Synthetic liners must be impervious and compatible with the liquid contained. Furthermore, shop-fabricated aboveground secondary containment berms must be supported by a metal frame and must be capable of holding the entire hydrostatic load when full. The capacity of the secondary containment berm must be equal to 110% of the volume of the bladder.
Environment Canada Technical Guidance Document for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks (Aug. 2009) 3
Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board Directive 055: Storage Requirements for the Upstream Petroleum Industry Sections 5.3.2.1 and 13.3.1.

Transfer Areas: All transfer areas of a fuel storage system larger than 2500 litres must be designed to contain spills.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, June 2008: p.1498

Spills: A spill means any loss of product that reaches the outside of a storage tank system's secondary containment berm. Operations must be equipped for hazardous materials management through the use of spill supplies or spill kits.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, June 2008: 1.Interpretation, p. 1476

Q. What do the current regulations and new technical guidance material from Environment Canada mean for existing systems?
A. The regulations apply in the case of fixed location collapsible fuel tanks . The same requirements for the installation, operation, and maintenance would apply to collapsible fuel tanks as for other aboveground storage tanks.

Collapsible fuel tank storage facilities deployed before June 12, 2008 must be identified to Environment Canada by June 2009.

Operators will need to ensure their systems include:
Proper secondary containment
Oil-water separators
Leak detection devices or procedures
Overfill protection or identify features already built into tanks
Spill prevention devices for transfer areas

The manufacturer of many Raymac Environmental Services products, has prepared an information package to help operators using collapsible fuel tanks properly complete Environment Canada identification forms. Call 866.753.6696 for your copy.

Upgrades to existing systems must be completed by June 12, 2012.

Owners and operators of these systems should refer to the regulations to understand the requirements. More information about the regulations including a copy of the regulations, the CCME Code of Practice, and other information can be found on Environment Canada's website at www.ec.gc.ca/st-rs .

Q. Where can I find documentation on Environment Canada's regulations?
A. See below for a list of Important Reference Documents

1. Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, June 2008

2. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products

3. Environment Canada Technical Guidance Document for Collapsible Fabric Storage Tanks (Aug. 2009)

4. Arctic King Manual version (C)

5. Draft Recommended Best Practices for the Storage and Handling of Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Crown Lands in Nunavut, March 2009, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

6. Best Practices Guidelines: Bladder Tank Aboveground Temporary Fuel Storage Systems - Arctic Region

7. Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board Directive 055: Storage Requirements for the Upstream Petroleum Industry.

Q. What is a collapsible fuel bladder tank?
A. Collapsible fuel tanks made from polyurethane were originally developed by the US Military in the late 70's. They were developed to provide temporary bulk storage facilities for fuels needed by expeditionary military forces.

Manufactured in a variety of sizes, collapsible fuel tanks are available in Canada from 500 to 114,000 litres. They are made from different types of polyurethane fabrics. The design and fabric of these fuel bladders will vary depending on the type of fuel stored and the location and climate they're in, such as arctic , jungle , or desert areas .

Collapsible fuel bladder tanks are very easy to transport because they fold down into a small size, which makes them very economical to ship into remote areas where access to transportation is limited and expensive.

Designed for temporary storage, collapsible fuel tanks have an operational life span of approximately 5-10 years depending on the number of times they are moved.

Q. Who should use bladder tanks?
A. Temporary or re-locatable exploration camps, remote construction companies that require a large capacity of fuel during initial construction, operators that may require additional fuel capacity for a short time, and helicopter operators that are storing fuel for a specific contract will all find collapsible fuel bladder tanks an effective fuel storage option.
Q. Can one fabric tank be used in all climates?
A. No. Each climate requires a specific solution. For more information, please read through our materials covering:

a) Arctic King collapsible fuel tanks for sub-zero climates
b) Jungle King collapsible fuel tanks for hot, humid, and wet climates
c) Desert King collapsible fuel tanks for dry desert climates

Q. What do the current regulations and new technical guidance material from Environment Canada mean for new systems?
A. The development of the technical guidance material will mean that the regulations will now provide a mechanism for the installation of new collapsible fuel tank systems since requirements for collapsible fuel tank installation, operation, and maintenance are already included in the regulations.

This technical guidance material has been available from Environment Canada since August of 2009.

Q. How do collapsible fuel tanks compare to drums?
A. When comparing collapsible fuel bladder tanks vs. traditional fuel storage drums, there are many factors to consider:

Cost: It takes 545 drums to equal the storage capacity in 1 30,000 USG collapsible fuel tank. The deposit alone on 545 drums is equal to the full purchase price of one collapsible fuel bladder, making our fuel tanks a cost-effective solution for your operation. Transportation costs are also much higher for so many drums because of the physical space they take up, but also the additional handling. Furthermore, collapsible fuel tanks have lower reconciliation costs because there is less material to transport for disposal.

Space: Collapsible fuel tanks fold down to a fraction of their volume storing capacity, making them extremely inexpensive to ship compared to other storage methods. They also require a much smaller footprint then the same capacity in drum fuel. Specifically, the area required to store 545 drums is 218 m2 whereas the area required to store one 30,000 USG Terra Tank is 105m2. This is especially important when you consider the impact on sensitive tundra because less ground is being compressed by usage.

Quality: Using collapsible fuel bladder tanks, the fuel quality does not deteriorate quickly because there is no vapour space for condensation to form unlike other methods of storage.

Q. Do steel drums require secondary containment?
A. One argument that is continually made is that drums do not require secondary containment because each drum is holding less then 200 litres of fuel. This means that the fuel stored at a large fuel cache is already compartmentalized. However, due to their small size they require more handling which often leads to damage. Drums are designed for a single use but they are often reused which causes minor leaks because they cannot be resealed properly. While the spills by drums are much smaller in size, the sheer number of drums spilling fuel in the Arctic amounts to a significant environmental threat.

Because of these issues many jurisdictions require secondary containment for all fuel storage over 2000 litres. This is now starting to include drum fuel.

One argument that is continually made is that drums do not require secondary containment because each drum is holding less then 200 litres of fuel. This means that the fuel stored at a large fuel cache is already compartmentalized. However, due to their small size they require more handling which often leads to damage. Drums are designed for a single use but they are often reused which causes minor leaks because they cannot be resealed properly. While the spills by drums are much smaller in size, the sheer number of drums spilling fuel in the Arctic amounts to a significant environmental threat.

Because of these issues many jurisdictions require secondary containment for all fuel storage over 2000 litres. This is now starting to include drum fuel.

Q. What environmental benefits do collapsible fuel tanks have when compared to steel tanks and ISO tanks?
A. Collapsible fuel tanks are environmentally friendly because they:
a) Do not require concrete pads making the site easier to re-claim
b) Do not require a much fuel to transport the tank to site so there is less fuel consumption and cost associated with transport
c) Are less costly and less disruptive to remove and dispose of properly because the tanks collapse to a fraction of their storage capacity in size

Discover more information on the environmentally friendly fuel storage solutions Raymac has to offer.

Q. I have heard that polar bears eat collapsible fuel tanks, is it true?
A. To date, there has not been one documented case of polar bears eating collapsible fuel tanks.
Q. When there is diffusion in a fabric tank, does it mean that it will leak?
A. Diffusion is the appearance of damp or wet spots on the top of a collapsible fuel tank because of the act of sweating or weeping through the fabric. Diffusion may become damp to the touch but should not be confused with "leaking". There is no measure of time for diffusion to occur as each bladder has different conditions that may reduce or increase the appearance of diffusion including fuel type, additives, and fuel, ambient, or fabric temperature.

Note: Diffusion in cold climates may result in a damp spot on the tank because the temperature is not sufficient to evaporate the diffusion.

The fabric used to manufacture the Arctic King Tank, a collapsible fuel tank designed specifically for sub-zero climates , has a proprietary double offset coating on the inside of the tank. This fabric has enabled the manufacturer of Raymac Environmental Services products, to reduce diffusion rates by six times.

Q. What is the difference between "thermal welding" and "radio frequency welding"?
A. Most fuel tanks use thermal welding, which is done by a hot air or hot bar (wedge) process. Both only heat up a thin layer of surface of the top coating coat welds are the result of poor heat penetration during the welding process which has the appearance of a properly welded seam that in fact is not bonded. This may result in a seam separation.

Radio frequency welding work by passing an electrical current through the fabric heating up the entire thickness of the top coating at the molecular level. RF welding uses a pneumatic pressurized system during both the welding and the cooling processes, ensuring constant pressure is maintained on the seam. This creates a complete bond of the fabric layers that is stronger than the base fabric. The manufacturer uses radio frequency welding for all of its seams.

Q. What is the shelf life of fabric fuel tanks?
A. Shelf life only applies to new tanks. Once a collapsible fuel tank has had fuel in it, its service life has started. The expected shelf life of an Arctic King tank to be a minimum of 10 years from the date of manufacture providing the tanks are stored in depot-like conditions. The manufacturer defines depot-like conditions as a dry, indoor environment with relatively even temperatures between 10°C (50°F) and 43°C (110°F) and low humidity of 50-70% (the lower the better). Many customers have stored fuel tanks in dehumidified conditions while also following all other recommendations listed above and have successfully extended their tank's shelf life to well over 12 years.
Q. What is the service life of fabric fuel tanks?
A. Once fuel is put into a tank (wetting) the clock starts on its service life. The clock cannot be stopped or reversed by any special cleaning or preservation techniques. The expected service life of an Arctic King tank when used in an arctic environment to be 10 years. Service life may be more or less depending on climate conditions in which the tank is used and the treatment the tank receives during service. Many customers have extended the service life of their tanks well in excess of 10 years by following the operational instructions in the user manual provided with each tank.
Q. What are Mil-Spec's?
A. Collapsible fuel tanks were first invented in the 1950's and were originally made from rubber.

In the 1980's the US Military began developing collapsible fuel tanks made from polyurethane to make the product lighter. The US Military developed these fabrics under Military Specifications (US Mil-Spec). Mil-Specs defined the fabric and tank manufacturing methods for collapsible fuel tanks. Under this system manufacturers would make their product according to the instructions set out by the military. The US Mil-Spec attempted to develop a single type of tank for use with all fuels in all environments. Due to tank problems the US Military adopted a purchase description method of procurement in 2003. Mil-Specs are still commonly used to describe fabrics used to make collapsible fuel tanks but the US Military does not purchase under the procurement process anymore.

The fabrics, seams, seaming method, and tank designs used to make Arctic King , Desert King , and Jungle King Tanks are proprietary to the manufacturer, while the fabrics may reference US Mil-Spec.