Archive for the ‘Inspecting potable water storage’ Category

Batten Down the Hatches…

September 17, 2021 Leave a comment
Ground view of Water Storage Tower

Hurricane season starts in June 1 and ends in November 30, with the peak of this season starting after August. Although September marks the beginning of fall, it also tends to be the most active month for hurricanes in the Atlantic.

In late August the gulf was hit by a Category 4 Hurricane, Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana, and Mississippi leaving damage, destruction, and losses for many. According to, Hurricane Ida became the fifth most powerful hurricane to hit the United States. Along with this record it also became the second most damaging hurricane to hit the state of Louisiana, with estimates of 50 to 60 billion dollars in damage.

Not only did Hurricane Ida strike Louisiana and Mississippi, it became a Tropical Storm that swept through the Northeastern United States. The hurricane left the Northeastern States with record flash flooding and rainfalls.

Like many catastrophic storms, many were left without electricity or running water. reported three days after the storm hit Louisiana and Mississippi millions were still without electricity and state health officials stated more than 600,000 were without running water.

We have all seen the images of destruction a hurricane or tropical storm can cause like flooding roads, fallen trees, and damaged structures. But what we don’t see is the damage it can do to our Water Systems, including the water storage tanks and towers.

After a hurricane, tropical storm, or even a severe thunderstorm has impacted your area, it is critical to complete an inspection to evaluate any damages that may have occurred to your water system or water storage tanks. These powerful storms can cause numerous problems for the water tanks and towers, problems that might not be seen from the ground below. The high winds can cause damage to hatches, vent structures and air craft warning lights, and in some cases even be blown off.  Even the foundations of the water storage tanks, like homes and buildings can be affected due to the severe rainfall and flash flooding. Without evaluating the damages that can occur to your water storage tanks, you may be leaving entry ways that can allow birds, insects, and other pollutants to enter the tank.

The latest Tropical Storm to hit the Texas Gulf Coast, tropical storm Nicholas, brought flash flooding and high level rainfalls. With more tropical storms and potential hurricane to come this hurricane season it is important to stay current with your TCEQ inspections. After disasters have occurred the most important necessities that people need is shelter, light, and WATER. By doing your inspections you can be sure your water system is prepared to provide your community with SAFE water.

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Fun in the Sun

September 7, 2021 Leave a comment

As the year summer comes to a close, many people got to take advantage of the beaches, lakes, and rivers to cool down. Travel during the summer seems to have been high, higher than last year at least. Some people opted to stay home and enjoy water attractions, and public pools near or in their own communities.  Most of us wouldn’t ever think about getting sick from a trip of relaxation, and just soaking up some sun. But according to the CDC they reported almost 500 recreational water outbreak illnesses. These reports were gathered from 2010 to 2014, and the three most common illnesses reported were Acute Gastrointestinal illnesses (diarrhea or vomiting), Skin illnesses (rashes), and Acute Respiratory illnesses (cough or congestion).

While public pools, water attractions, and water playgrounds do undergo routine inspections, a CDC study found more than 10 percent of the inspections resulted in immediate closures because of severe violations. These inspections also included hotel and motel pools, spas, and hot tubs. Despite the fact most pools and water attractions give off a chlorine scent, many can be over chlorinated. Over chlorination can lead to something minor like red, irritated eyes to something as severe as Chlorine Poisoning. Although many of us associate chlorine in water to be safe, even at the correct levels it could not be as effective as one may think. Used at the recommended levels chlorine does in fact eliminate most germs in the water in minutes. But there are some germs like Cryptosporidium (a germ that causes diarrhea) that can live in accurately treated water for days, infecting many people and even causing outbreaks. 

Recreational pools and waterpark attractions aren’t the only place that can harbor these bacteria and viruses. The water we use from the tap can potentially contain the bacteria and viruses. The water is usually distributed from water tanks and towers. These water storage tanks and towers do require an annual inspection to be done and are usually enforced by the state’s water associations. These annual inspections are important for a water utility to complete because it will provide valuable information on the condition of the water tank and the levels of sediment in the tank. 

In Texas the inspections are enforced by the TCEQ, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. While inspections are done yearly, cleanings are done as needed. 

Some tanks are on a cleaning schedule while others are seldom and even some never cleaned at all. In many of those there is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses inside these water tanks and towers. The breeding ground is in a layer of sediment that accumulates at the bottom of these tanks and towers. 

Some water utility managers and supervisors may not know that a thin layer of sediment is enough for the bacteria and viruses to get a foothold in the water storage tank and towers. Sediment that accumulates in almost all water storage systems can be a safe habitat that can harbor a wide range of contaminants. Sediment that is allowed to build up on the floor of water storage tanks provides shelter from chlorine and other treatment chemicals allowing the intruders to grow and be a potential problem.

And even though water utility managers and supervisors do their part to ensure clean drinking water, most may not be aware that cleaning the sediment at the bottom of the tank could be a great help to them in getting better water quality results. But who wants to take a tank out of service? What if you do not need to shut your system down just to clean the sediment out? Removing the sediment while the tank remains in service is possible with the help of fully certified divers to remove the sediment at the bottom of the tank or tower.  There are only a few specialty companies like ours that only dive in potable water.

Ron Perrin Water Technologies is a company that offers water storage tank and tower inspections, and cleanings. Ron Perrin Water Technologies even offers a new service that allows you to clean standpipes, which could be very difficult to do with a diver and would usually be drained to have a cleaning done because of the height of these tanks. Ron Perrin Water Technologies combated adding this new service in which they drop a cleaning robot into the standpipe to get help clear the layers of sediment. With these services that Ron Perrin Water Technologies offers there is little to no disruption of service to the water utilities. If you would like a free inspection or cleaning quote, you can contact them at 817-377-4899. 

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2021 Regional Schools

August 4, 2021 Leave a comment

We will be at more TWUA Regional Schools this year as they get back into the swing of things. I had the pleasure of taking Caroline Perrin my wife of 37 years to the school in San Angelo on July 20th, 2021. Since 1997 our message has remained the same; Annual Water Tank Inspections are not only important, In Texas, they are required by the TCEQ. We have the best method to inspect your tanks with NO DISRUPTION IN SERVCE and NO WATER LOSS. Our underwater video camera and lighting system lets you know what is going on inside your tank. We also document all TCEQ inspection points, that include sediment levels, paint condition, man-ways, vent screen, ladders and level indicators.

If the facility needs to be cleaned; our potable water dive crew can make quick work out of removing all sediment from the floor of the tank. If you know your tanks need to be cleaned an Inspection and Cleaning proposal can save money by getting it done all on one trip. All tanks should be on some kind of cleaning schedule. Sediment on the interior floor of a water tank can be a safe habitat for bacteria and other contaminants to get a foothold in your water system and grow. For a free quote give us a call at 817-377-4899 or e-mail perrinsales@gmail,com.

Ron & Caroline Perrin – San Angelo Convention Center
Ron Perrin San Angelo, Texas July 2021

For more information visit or call us toll free at 1-888-481-1768

Tap Talk – Out of Sight Out of Mind

December 7, 2020 Leave a comment

Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. has inspected more than 8,000 water storage tanks and towers all across Texas and fourteen other states. We now have a video-series called “Tap Talk”. Come with our dive crew to see what we find and why we inspect and clean water storage tanks.

In episode two we shed light on what kind of viruses and bacteria you can find living in the sediment of the water storage tanks and towers. Be sure to like and subscribe to be notified when new episodes are out.

See all published episodes and subscribe to our blog so you never miss a new episode

Discovering Tiny Tank Cleanings

October 28, 2020 Leave a comment

My name is Robert Perrin, my father Ron Perrin built his business from an idea that all water should be safe water. There was an opportunity he saw to help water municipalities big and small ensure that their water tanks and towers could be as safe as possible for their cities and customers. I have been with Ron Perrin Water Technologies since 2011, but long before I was a part of the company I had my small hands involved in one way or another. A couple of instances would be stamping postcards on the weekends, and experiencing trade shows that would usually turn into work-cations.

One important memory I have with my father is when I was around 12 I got to go with him to see how he cleaned a tank.  I was expecting to arrive at a water plant yard and see this huge over shadowing water tower. But instead we pulled into the backyard of someone’s country home. When I got out it finally clicked that there was no water tower, there was instead a small black plastic tank. Knowing what I know today, it was probably a thousand gallons but he was set up the equipment the same way as if it were a million gallon tank just without a diver.  Needless to say the equipment overpowered the tiny tank and the tank was drained pretty quickly. The job got done and he got paid, I on the other hand got to experience how my father adapted to the situation he found himself in.

Last year a Church out in west Texas called to see if we could clean two tiny 10 thousand gallon tanks. With a diver not being able to fit, the memory of the tiny tank I got to see cleaned when I was 12 came into mind. Talking with my father, we took what we knew about cleaning and inspecting a tank and tried to come up with a solution. The solution we came up with was to scale all the equipment we use to clean and inspect down so we could ensure the tiny tanks could be cleaned properly without draining the tanks. We agreed to the cleaning job and since it wouldn’t require a diver or a crew I would be the one to test out our solution. 

I arrived at the job site and set up my equipment, I put a camera down the hatch to see what I was working with. For the tanks being tiny, there was shockingly more sediment in the tanks that I thought. I put the cleaning tip into the tank and started the pump, the hose was next to my head so I was trying to hear if the set up was working. When I heard the sediment being sucked up and moving past my head it was such an amazing feeling, it was like hearing success. It was at that point I knew, Ron Perrin Water Technologies would have a new service to offer tiny tank owners.

It seemed to work out perfectly because shortly after we acquired another tiny tank cleaning job. Once again I was able to put the set up to the test and it worked just as well as it did before. So far I have cleaned almost a dozen tiny tanks without disrupting services. It’s a great feeling to be able to offer this new service, as it adds to the other services Ron Perrin Water Technologies offers. Even though these tiny tanks are as small as a thousand gallons, it is great to know that we can ensure those tanks are performing at their best with inspections and cleanings. Everyone deserves to have their water they drink and use to be safe.

“There’s WHAT in my WATER?!”

Water tanks are an essential part to a community. It is an absolute essential that cannot afford to be neglected. Water systems are in charge of maintaining the water tank structure and also maintaining the safety of the water for the community. Though most water tanks can be around for many decades, in order to increase the life of the water storage tank yearly inspections must be done in order to prevent any small problems turning into major issues.

After severe storms with high winds, including tropical storms and hurricanes a water tank should be inspected to ensure there is no damage to the structure of the tank. Some of the damage that can occur is vent structures being blown off, leaving an open entry points for insects, birds, and bats. These types of breaches can lead to bacteria, protozoa, and virus from contaminating the water.

In Texas the summer comes with the heat and droughts, leading most animals in search of water. The water stored in water storage tanks can be appealing for insects, birds, and rodents. Though an open vent structure or hole in the vent can make entry easy, exiting the tank can be difficult for them. In some water tank inspections Ron Perrin Water Technologies have completed there have been bones of birds and bats found at the bottom of the tanks. In some tanks there were even crawdads, and frogs swimming around!

In July 2015 a city in Texas turned on their tap water only to find worms coming out! Small red worms filled up their drinking glasses, and bathtubs. Click the link to read more .  This is one story of how insects gained access to a community’s drinking water. The rule of thumb is if the hole of a vent is enough to fit a finger digit insects can get in. If you can put your fist in it, birds and bats can gain access into the water tank. All these issues that could potentially come along is having your water tank inspected after severe storms. A water system can do these inspections or hire someone to inspect their tanks for them.

If you would like a free quote for your tanks email or call us at 888-481-1768.

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Toll Free: 888-481-1768           Direct: 817-377-4988             Fax: 817-246-1740

Content source: Ron Perrin Clean Water Tank Project

Crisp, Clean, and Refreshing?

When you drink a cold glass of water you know it’s good when you can describe it as “crisp, clean, and refreshing.” What if that crisp, clean, and refreshing glass of water was contaminated with bacteria that could lead to illness and even death? The bacteria and viruses in the water wouldn’t even be seen by the naked eye. Unless you could test your water every time you turned on the tap, there would be no way for you to know what you were drinking.

It is very important for a water system to maintain their water safety, whether that means keeping up with their yearly TCEQ potable water tank inspections or just checking their chlorine levels. If a water system has high use of chlorine it is probably due to the chlorine fighting some sort of contaminate in the water. There is a chance the contamination in the water tank could be breeding in the sediment of the potable water storage tank. An important step a water system can take is to remove any sediment that is found to have accumulated in their water tanks.

Though some sediment is common in most potable water storage tanks, it is important to know when too much sediment accumulates it can cause a big problem.  Bacteria like Legionella, protozoa like Cryptosporidium, and a wide range of viruses including Norovirus can HIDE and GROW in the water tank sediment. Once the bacteria have a foothold in the water tank it can cause problems for not only the water system, but for the community they are providing water to. Most of the bacteria can cause nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea and in some cases exposure to the bacteria or virus can be fatal.

With yearly inspections, and testing your residuals often you can have the knowledge you need to prevent infiltration of these bacteria and viruses. By cleaning the sediment in your water storage tank you can prevent any bacteria or viruses from maintaining a hold in your water tank. These simple steps can be the difference of maintaining the quality of the water that is essential to the community.

If you would like a free quote for your tanks email or call us at 888-481-1768.

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Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Inspecting and cleaning your water storage tanks and towers is critical to keeping your drinking water safe. 

March 25, 2020 Leave a comment

On June 17th 2002 the USEPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water  published a white paper titled: “Health Risks from Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems”.  In section 4 the paper list the types of microbes that may contaminate drinking water tanks.  I have selected this section along with several others for your review.  I also included excerpts from another white paper published on August 15, 2002 Finished Water Storage Facilities” also reviews contaminants that may be in tank sediment and the importance of tank inspection and cleaning.

——————-  Selections

Health Risks from Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution System

IV. Microbes that May Present a Public Health Risk in the Distribution System

This section of the paper will discuss the potential public health concern that arises when certain microbes and their products become a component of the distribution system biofilm. While some potential health effects are listed in the tables herein, additional health effects are provided in tables on the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water website. The organisms and toxins discussed are:

 Bacteria, Viruses, Protozoa, Invertebrates, Microbial toxins, Algae and algal toxins 

A number of technical reviews of the literature have been published on biofilm organisms in the water distribution system and factors that influence their survival and growth (Geldreich and LeChevallier, 1999; Geldreich, 1996; van der Wende and Characklis, 1990; LeChevallier, 1989a; LeChevallier et al., 1990a; 1990b; 1999b; Costerton and Lappin-Scott, 1989; Marshall, 1992; Mittelman, 1991; USEPA, 1992b; NRC, 1982).

Any microbe (including some pathogens) present in water may attach, or become enmeshed, in the biofilm. Primary pathogens, which cause disease in healthy humans, may survive for a time in the biofilm. However, the survival time for many pathogens in biofilms is uncertain and likely varies depending on the organism For some pathogens, the distribution system is a physical, chemical, and biological environment unsuited for their growth. However, pathogens may accumulate in the biofilm, and the biofilm may extend the survival of primary pathogens by protecting them from disinfectants. These pathogens may be sloughed from the biofilm into the water column due to changes in the flow rate. The persistence of waterborne disease, or of microbial contamination in a distribution system, long after the cause of the distribution system problem has apparently been corrected suggests that there may be an isolated pocket of static or slow-flowing water or biofilm erosion or sloughing is occurring (i.e. the slow-release mechanism).

Page 19 – 20

D. Entry through contamination of finished water storage vessels

Both covered and uncovered finished water reservoirs provide opportunities for microbial contamination of the distribution system, and the subsequent inclusion in distribution system biofilms. Contaminated stored water can enter water distribution pipes when the water is drawn from the

vessels for distribution. Contamination introduced through earlier points in the distribution system may be amplified during storage (e.g., biofilm growth). Storage vessels may accumulate sediment, enhancing the ability of microbes to thrive during storage.

Microbial contaminants can enter open storage reservoirs by natural phenomena, animals or humans. Birds and other animals can introduce microbial contaminants through their feces, or through general contact with the finished water. Some open finished water reservoirs may also be subject to surface runoff which may be contaminated. The Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (IESWTR) requires that all newly constructed finished water reservoirs, holding tanks and other facilities constructed for surface water systems or ground water systems under the direct influence of surface water serving 10,000 or more people, be covered (Federal Register, December 16, 1998). The Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT1) extended this requirement to surface water systems or ground water systems under the direct influence of surface water serving fewer than 10,000 people (Federal Register, April 10, 2000).

Inadequately secured covered finished water storage vessels may allow microbial contamination to enter the distribution system. When air is drawn through air vents to replace water leaving the vessel, contamination in the air can enter (USEPA, 1992b). Humans and animals can enter inadequately protected covered finished water vessels and introduce contamination. Underground basins are susceptible to bird, animal and human contamination (USEPA, 1992b), while ground level and elevated finished water storage tanks can also become contaminated by humans and birds. A S. typhimurium outbreak in Gideon, Missouri, which caused over 400 cases of illness and seven deaths, was likely caused by bird feces contaminating an elevated storage tank (Clark et al., 1996). More information on contamination of storage vessels is addressed in a separate paper on covered storage.

E. Entry through Improper Treatment of Materials, Equipment or Personnel in Contact with Finished Water

Materials, equipment and personnel introduced to the distribution system also provide pathways for microbial contaminants to enter biofilms. The materials can include filter materials, piping, sealing vials and others (Schaule and Fleming, 1997). Personnel in contact with the water can provide a pathway for contaminant introduction (Schaule and Fleming, 1997) by introducing contaminants during maintenance or repairs of the distribution system or storage vessels. Equipment placed inside water distribution systems, such as tank cleaning equipment or video equipment used to inspect pipelines, can introduce contaminants if not decontaminated prior to use.

F. Entry through inadequate distribution system security

Lack of proper security may result in microbe entry, followed by incorporation of the microbial contaminants into the distribution system biofilm. This may result from intentional security breaches, such as vandalism or terrorism. Also, unintentional contamination can result from unauthorized users tapping into the distribution system and swimmers using storage vessels or reservoirs. Distribution systems can have many

miles of pipe, and many storage tanks and interconnections. Because of this, systems can be susceptible to tampering, allowing contamination

Page 26.

G. Sediment Accumulation

Significant microbial activity may occur in accumulated sediment (USEPA, 1992b). Organic and inorganic sediments can also accumulate in low-flow areas of the distribution system, and enhance microbial activity by providing protection and nutrients (USEPA, 1992b). Biofilms that slough can accumulate in the periphery of distribution systems leading to sediment accumulation and the proliferation of some microorganisms (van der Kooij, 2000). Sediments may be an important source of nutrients in open finished water reservoirs, by accumulating slowly biodegrading materials which are then broken down and released into the water column (LeChevallier, 1999b). The opportunities for biofilm development may be more abundant in storage tanks than in distribution system piping. Frequently, water is drawn from storage tanks only when water demand is high, such as during drought, fire flow, and flushing operations. This intermittent use results in prolonged storage times that may lead to increased sediment accumulation and lack of a disinfectant residual in the finished water storage vessel. Biological and aesthetic effects can be observed following the release of accumulated sediments from low flow areas of the distribution system (Geldreich, 1990).

Many studies have identified microbes in accumulated sediments, including both pathogens and non-pathogens. These include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae, fungi and invertebrates. Opportunistic pathogens that have been detected, and can multiply in sediments, include Legionella and mycobacteria (van der Kooij, 2000). Some primary pathogens can also survive for some time in sediments. Hepatitis A virus survived more than four months in sediments at both 5/C and 25/C (Sobsey et al., 1986). Other opportunistic pathogens found in sediments include Pseudomonas fluorescens and Flavobacterium spp. (Berger et al., 1993). Sediments can also release nutrients into the water which stimulate biofilm growth downstream (LeChevallier, 1999b).

VIII. Suitable Measures for Controlling Biofilm Development

Page 34

I. Proper Storage Vessel Management and Alteration

Proper storage vessel management and alteration, when necessary, can prevent contamination of the distribution system. Following TCR violations in 1996 in Washington D.C., one measure that proved effective in bringing the system back into compliance was the cleaning, inspection and disinfection of storage tanks and reservoirs (Clark, et al., 1999). To reduce pathogen presence and biofilm development, systems should have a scheduled program to rehabilitate all water storage facilities (USEPA, 1997). Proper operation and maintenance of storage tanks and reservoirs is listed as a BAT in the TCR (USEPA, 1992b). Storage tanks and standpipes should be pressure flushed or steam cleaned, then disinfected before returned to service (USEPA, 1992b), preferably with a disinfectant solution. This may not only remove microbial contamination from the vessel’s inner surface, but also nutrients that may be present. Proper operation of storage vessels can also reduce excessive residence times, which can lead to microbial survival and growth, and biofilm formation. Properly designed inlets and outlets, and the overall system design can improve problems caused by dead ends (Trussell, 1999). Pathogen contamination due to air introduction can be reduced by installing air filters to guard against pollution entering covered water reservoirs (USEPA, 1992b). Covering finished water reservoirs can protect against contamination from airborne sources, surface runoff, accidental spills and animals, such as insects and birds (USEPA, 1992b). EPA’s Uncovered Finished Water Reservoirs Guidance Manual describes recommended contamination control measures related to birds and other animals, human activity, algal growth and insects and fish (USEPA, 1999b). An understanding of the storage hydraulics and operation is important in reducing contamination of the finished water.

Proper turnover of the water in finished water storage facilities eliminates what amounts to dead ends and can reduce the extent to which biofilms develop, minimize nutrient availability and prevent the accumulation of sediments. To accomplish this systems can exercise valves to reduce stagnation, and eliminate excess storage (Crozes and Cushing, 2000).

Systems can exercise additional control over biofilm accumulation and microbial growth in finished water storage vessels by preventing sediment accumulation. This can be accomplished through periodic flushing (Crozes and Cushing, 2000) and cleaning.



EPA White Paper #2

Office of Water (4601M)

Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water

Distribution System Issue Paper

Finished Water Storage Facilities   August 15, 2002   

Additional Information

The paper is available at the TCR web site at:

Page 2

2.1.1 Sediment

Sediment accumulation occurs within storage facilities due to quiescent conditions which

promote particle settling. Potential water quality problems associated with sediment

accumulation include increased disinfectant demand, microbial growth, disinfection by-product

formation, and increased turbidity within the bulk water. Instances of microbial contamination

and disinfection by-product formation due to storage facility sediments are described in the

Pathogen Contamination and Microbial Growth section and the Disinfection By-Product

formation section, respectively.

2.1.2 Pathogen Contamination and Microbial Growth

Prepared by AWWA with assistance from Economic and Engineering Services, Inc. 3

Microbial contamination from birds or insects is a major water quality problem in storage tanks. One tank inspection firm that inspects 60 to 75 tanks each year in Missouri and southern Illinois reports that 20 to 25 percent of tanks inspected have serious sanitary defects, and eighty to ninety percent of these tanks have various minor flaws that could lead to sanitary problems (Zelch 2002). Most of these sanitary defects stem from design problems with roof hatch systems and vents that do not provide a watertight seal. Older cathodic protection systems of the hanging type also did not provide a tight seal. When standing inside the tank, daylight can be seen around these fixtures. The gaps allow spiders, bird droppings and other contaminants to enter the tank. Zelch (2002) reports a trend of positive total coliform bacteria occurrences in the fall due to water turnover in tanks. Colder water enters a tank containing warm water, causing the water in the tank to turn over. The warm water that has aged in the tank all summer is discharged to the system and is often suspected as the cause of total coliform occurrences. Storage facilities have been implicated in several waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States and Europe. In December 1993, a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in Gideon, Missouri resulted from bird contamination in a covered municipal water storage tank (Clark et al. 1996). Pigeon dropping on the tank roof were carried into the tank by wind and rain through a gap in the roof hatch frame (Zelch 2002). Poor distribution system flushing practices led to the complete draining of the tank’s contaminated water into the distribution system. As of January 8, 1994, 31cases of laboratory confirmed salmonellosis had been identified. Seven nursing home residents exhibiting diarrheal illness died, four of whom were confirmed by culture. It was estimated that almost 600 people or 44% of the city’s residents were affected by diarrhea in this time period. A 1993 outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni was traced to untreated well water that was likely contaminated in a storage facility that had been cleaned the previous month (Kramer et al. 1996). Fecal coliform bacteria were also detected in the stored water. In 2000, a City in Massachusetts detected total coliform bacteria in several samples at one of their six finished water storage facilities (Correia, 2002). The tank inspector discovered an open access hatch and other signs of vandalism. This tank was drained and cleaned to remove several inches of accumulated sediment. Three other finished water storage facilities were cleaned in 2001 without being drained and removed from service. The tank closest to the filtration plant was found to contain two to three inches of accumulated sediment and the tanks in outlying areas contained four to six inches of sediment. Shortly after the tanks were returned to service, the City experienced widespread total coliform occurrences in the distribution system (Correia, 2002). The City’s immediate response was to boost the free chlorine residual in the distribution system to 4.0 mg/L (including at tank outlets). Also, the distribution system was flushed continuously for two days to remove the contaminated water. These measures resolved the coliform bacteria problem. A boil water order was not required. To prevent the problem from recurring, the City has instituted a tank cleaning program in which all tanks are cleaned on a three year cycle. City engineers are planning to improve water turnover rates by separating the tank inlet and outlet piping.

In 1995, a water district in Maine traced a total coliform bacteria occurrence in the distribution system to two old steel tanks with wooden roofs (Hunt 2002). Upon inspection, many roof shingles were missing and large gaps were present in the tank roofs. After the tanks were Prepared by AWWA with assistance from Economic and Engineering Services, Inc. 4 drained, an interior inspection found two feet of accumulated sediment, widespread coating failure on the tank sidewalls, and evidence of human entry. The tanks were cleaned and the distribution system was flushed and disinfected. A boil water order was in place until system water quality was restored. The tanks have since been replaced with a modern preload concrete tank.

3.3 Tank Inspections  Page 10

Like water quality monitoring, tank inspections provide information used to identify and evaluate current and potential water quality problems. Both interior and exterior inspections are employed to assure the tank’s physical integrity, security, and high water quality. Inspection type and frequency are driven by many factors specific to each storage facility, including its type (i.e. standpipe, ground tank, etc), vandalism potential, age, condition, cleaning program or maintenance history, water quality history, funding, staffing, and other utility criteria. AWWA Manual M42, Steel Water Storage Tanks (1998) provides information regarding inspection during tank construction and periodic operator inspection of existing steel tanks. Specific guidance on the inspection of concrete tanks was not found in the literature. However, the former AWWA Standard D101 document may be used as a guide to inspect all appurtenances on concrete tanks. Concrete condition assessments should be performed with guidance from the tank manufacturer. Soft, low alkalinity, low pH waters may dissolve the cementitious materials in a concrete reservoir causing a rough surface and exposing the sand and gravel. The concern is that in extreme cases, the integrity of reinforcing bars may be compromised. Sand may collect on the bottom of the storage facility during this process. Routine inspections typically monitor the exterior of the storage facility and grounds for evidence of intrusion, vandalism, coating failures, security, and operational readiness. Based on a literature review and project survey, Kirmeyer et al. (1999) suggested that routine inspections Prepared by AWWA with assistance from Economic and Engineering Services, Inc. 11 be conducted on a daily to weekly basis. Where SCADA systems include electronic surveillance systems, alarm conditions may substitute for physical inspection.

Periodic inspections are designed to review areas of the storage facility not normally accessible from the ground and hence not evaluated by the routine inspections. These inspections usually require climbing the tank. Periodic inspections, like routine inspections, are principally a visual inspection of tank integrity and operational readiness. Based on a literature review and project survey, Kirmeyer et al. (1999) suggested that periodic inspections be conducted every 1 to 4 months.

Comprehensive inspections are performed to evaluate the current condition of storage facility components. These inspections often require the facility to be removed from service and drained unless robotic devices or divers are used. The need for comprehensive inspections is generally recognized by the water industry. AWWA Manual M42 (1998) recommends that tanks be drained and inspected at least once every 3 years or as required by state regulatory agencies. Most states do not recommend inspection frequencies thereby leaving it to the discretion of the utility. States that do have recommendations are Alabama (5 years), Arkansas (2 years), Missouri (5 years), New Hampshire (5 years), Ohio (5 years), Rhode Island (external once per year; internal, every five years), Texas (annually), and Wisconsin (5 years). Kirmeyer et al.(1999) recommend that comprehensive inspections be conducted every 3 to 5 years for structural condition and possibly more often for water quality purposes.

Uncovered finished water reservoirs have unique problems. Consequently, water utilities have ceased constructing such facilities. As noted previously, the IESWTR prohibits construction of new uncovered finished water reservoirs in the U.S. Under the LT2ESWTR, existing uncovered finished water reservoirs will be managed in accordance with a state approved plan, if the facility is not covered subsequent to the rule’s implementation. Flexible membrane covers are one means of enclosing uncovered reservoirs and these types of facilities also require specific routine, periodic, and comprehensive inspections to ensure the cover’s integrity.

3.4 Maintenance Activities  Page 11

Storage facility maintenance activities include cleaning, painting, and repair to structures to maintain serviceability. Based on a utility survey conducted by Kirmeyer et al. (1999), it appears that most utilities that have regular tank cleaning programs employ a cleaning interval of 2 to 5 years. This survey also showed that most tanks are painted (exterior coating) on an interval of 10 to 15 years.

4.0 Summary

Microbiological, chemical, and physical water quality problems can occur in finished water reservoirs that are under-utilized or poorly mixed. Poor mixing can be a result of design and/or operational practices. Several guidance manuals have been developed to address design, operations, and maintenance of finished water reservoirs. Water quality issues that have the potential for impacting public health include DBP formation, nitrification, pathogen contamination, and increases in VOC/SOC concentrations. Elevated DBP levels within storage facilities could result in an MCL violation under the proposed Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproduct Rule, based on a locational running annual average approach. A separate White Paper on Nitrification indicates that nitrite and/or nitrate levels are unlikely to approach MCL concentrations within the distribution system due to nitrification unless finished water nitrate/nitrite levels are near their respective MCLs. Pathogen contamination from floating covers or unprotected hatches is possible. Recommended tank cleaning and inspection procedures have been developed by AWWA and AWWARF to address these issues.


Inspecting and cleaning your water storage tanks and towers is critical to keeping your drinking water safe.  For a free inspection or cleaning quote call 817-377-4899.

ROV Water Tank Inspection

August 16, 2019 Leave a comment

Water Tank Inspection. Water Tank Cleaning. ROV Water Tank Inspection. Since 1997 Ron Perrin Water Technologies has been a leader in underwater inspection services for potable water storage tanks.  Our inspection methods include Remote Cameras, ROV inspections and Potable Water Diver inspections.


Our inspections offer the most information for the lowest cost while never disrupting water service or draining your tank.  Check out our new ROV Tank Inspection Video on youtube.

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New water tank inspection video

August 14, 2019 Leave a comment

Water Tank Inspection. Water Tank Cleaning. KEEPING DRINKING WATER SAFE SINCE 1997. Check out our new video at