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Section I. Tank Farms and Pipeline Surroundings


The primary purpose of good maintenance practices at petroleum installations is to enhance safety and security and to maximize service life. These practices also enhance work force performance and public relations. Working personnel, military or civilian, perform better when high standards of safety, cleanliness, orderliness, and appearance are maintained. This applies to all facilities, whether permanent, semipermanent, or temporary. Under any conditions, fire prevention, integrity of firewalls, safety, security, and environmental protection stewardship must be considered in all petroleum installation maintenance procedures and policies.


Constant attention should be paid to the installation grounds and the property around pipelines. All areas should be attractive and free of fire hazards. To maintain the grounds, follow these steps.

  • Mow grassy areas regularly.
  • Use approved environmentally safe procedures for removal of unwanted plants from growing inside of firewalls, near fire hydrants, around tank openings, and in fuel handling areas of operation.
  • Collect litter, trash, fallen leaves, and other combustible materials.
  • Cut overgrown bushes and foliage around pipelines to permit patrolling and easy access to control valves.
  • "No Smoking" and "Confined Space Entry Requirements" signs posted are in good condition and legible at a distance.


Buildings, pump station shelters, toolsheds, and all other similar structures should be kept in good condition To maintain them, follow these rules.

  • Inspect all painted areas for flaking or blistered paint. Report areas that need repainting.
  • Check the condition of roof gutters and downspouts. Report any needed repairs.
  • Remove any items that could become fire or safety hazards. Follow general housekeeping procedures.
  • Keep pump stations dry, clean, and well ventilated with approved adequate lighting devices.


The firewalls which are built around aboveground tanks at permanent installations are usually made of concrete or some impervious material. These firewalls are subject to damage. The mounds of earth that cover underground tanks and the earthen firewalls (Figure 10-1) which are built around aboveground tanks in tactical areas are subject to erosion. If left unchecked, erosion weakens firewalls so that they are not able to act as a secondary containment for a spill or prevention of a fire from spreading to another source. Also, the eroded soil collects at the base of the firewalls. This destroys the grade inside the firewalls so that runoff water flows to the tank instead of from it. The water corrodes the tank bottom. It also washes away soil under the tank, causing the tank to settle. This settling puts stress on the tank structure and pipes. To maintain firewalls and tank mounds, follow these rules.

  • Check concrete firewalls regularly for cracks and other signs of damage. Report any deterioration.
  • Fill in eroded areas in earthen mounds and firewalls as soon as possible.
  • Regrade earthen firewalls so that water flows away from the tank.
  • Seed the filled in areas of tank mounds and the outside slopes of firewalls with grass or vines, or with gravel or an asphalt like substance to hold soil in place.
  • Dress the inside slopes frequently to replace eroded soil; cover the inside slopes with gravel or perma prime. Another possibility is to arrange for the inside slopes to be with concrete. Another way to protect the ground is to cover the surface with rubberized or petroleum impervious sheets within the earthen berms.

Figure 10-1. Earthen firewall


Hangers and tiedowns as shown in Figure 10-2 are used to attach pipelines to bridges and trestles. Concrete embedded pipe anchors as shown in Figure 10-3, page 10-3, are used along pipelines to control movement and reduce vibrations. Other devices, such as wire ropes, cables, tower timbers, cross braces, and deadman anchors, are used to suspend pipelines across streams and ravines. To maintain pipeline supports, follow these steps:

  • Inspect all devices monthly for warped and loose hardware, breaks, and corrosion. Repair, tighten, or replace the hardware as needed.
  • Allow enough space for the pipeline to expand in hot weather areas or to contract in cold weather areas when tightening fixtures.
  • Inspect concrete foundations and the steel rods of pipe anchors for signs of damage or corrosion every 3 months during the first year after construction and then every 6 months thereafter.

Figure 10-2. Pipeline hangers and tie downs

Figure 10-3. Pipeline anchors


The roads, walkways, railroad tracks, and culverts required to operate a petroleum installation should be safe. To maintain them, follow these steps.

  • Patch or repair potholes and cracks as soon as possible.
  • Fill in washed-out areas beneath roads and walkways before more damage results.
  • Ensure the railroad tracks in loading/unloading areas for tank cars are well maintained. Check the alignment and condition of rails and ties. Look for loose spikes, worn or loose switches, or unserviceable grounding systems.
  • Keep pipeline culverts under roads, railroad tracks, and water crossings clean. Inspect culverts after every heavy storm. Check them frequently during rainy weather and in the spring after the snow melts and the ground thaws. Remove any debris and sediment that may have collected.


Fences are necessary around petroleum installations to prevent trespassing, theft and sabotage. To maintain the security fences, follow these steps.

  • Inspect the fencing, entrance gates, and fence posts regularly. Repair defective areas immediately.
  • Promptly fill in gaps created by erosion or animals burrowing under the fences.

Section II. Waterfront Facilities


Waterfront facilities and tactical marine terminals are used to transfer fuel to and from tankers. Maintenance on the waterfront is a constant effort to stop the potential threat to the environment caused by the sea, ships, and weather conditions A regular program of inspections and maintenance is necessary to prevent as much damage as possible from the seawater, salt, air, marine organisms, sunlight, and dry rot. Furthermore, there are strict environmental regulations, permits and SPCC Plans which require that certain maintenance be done on a strict time schedule. Every effort must be made to ensure these rules and time schedules are followed, both to the letter, and the spirit of their intent. Emergency repairs are also necessary to mend the structural damage caused by moving vessels, ice, petroleum spills, and high waves. Ongoing maintenance is essential to keep waterfront facilities and marine terminals operational.


Repairs to structures such as piers and pilings cannot be done by organizational maintenance personnel. However, they are responsible for maintaining the pipelines, hoses, hose-handling equipment, grounding systems, and mooring devices at waterfront operations.


Pipelines on fuel piers and jetties as shown in Figure 10-4, are used in protected harbors to transfer fuel. The piers and jetties are usually equipped with several pipelines to carry different fuels. The pipelines may be supported on top of a pier or jetty, or they may be suspended below a pier with hangers (Figure 10-5). Pipelines under piers are especially subject to damage because they are alternately submerged and exposed by tides. To maintain the pipeline system--

  • Inspect the pipelines, supports, and hangers frequently. Look for corrosion, chipped paint, and any signs that the protective coatings have failed.
  • Sand the damaged areas to bare metal if necessary. Apply an protective coating material such as zinc chromate, and then spot paint the pipeline, metal supports, and hangers.

Figure 10-4. Multileg mooring facility

Figure 10-5. Pipelines under a fuel pier


Submarine pipelines are welded pipe sections connected to storage tanks on shore and laid under water to ship moorings. These pipelines are located at tactical marine terminals. They are also located in areas that are not navigable by ships and in areas where there are no piers. Like the pipelines suspended under piers, submarine pipelines are especially prone to corrosion and damage from the ocean. The onshore sections should be inspected frequently and repaired as required. The underwater sections should be reported to support units. The marker buoys for submarine pipelines and the chains used to lift the lines off the ocean floor should be serviced the same as for the markers and chains of the mooring facilities.


Wire-reinforced neoprene rubber hoses are flanged to the ends of submarine and pier pipelines. They provide flexible connections to tankers. Maintenance procedures of the hoselines include the following.

  • Inspect the hoses for damage such as kinks, bulges, worn soft spots, and cuts that penetrate the wire reinforcement. Look inside the open ends for internal damage.
  • Repair or replace hose sections, couplings, and gaskets as needed.
  • Keep the hoses tightly capped when not in use.
  • Test each hose to 1 1/2 times its normal working pressure every 3 months. See Table 10-1.


Do not go over 125 PSI unless it can be determined that the hoses were designed by the manufacturer to take more. During testing, look for leaks, bulges, and distortions in the hose. Stencil the date of the test on the hose in a subdued color (black or gray) and keep a written record of the tests.

Table 10-1. Hose test pressures.




Hose assemblies, rubber, oil and gasoline discharge, smooth-bore, lightweight buoyant type (MIL-H-19001 (ships)) (latest revision)

Hose and hose assemblies, synthetic rubber, reinforced, water- and oil resistant, nonmagnetic and regular service, high-pressure type (type C) (MIL-H-19606 (ships)) (latest revision)

Hose and hose assemblies, rubber, oil- and gasoline discharge, smooth-bore, lightweight, buoyant type; reattachable couplings and adapters (MIL-H-22240 (ships)) (latest revision)

Hose, rubber, gasoline, with reusable couplings, low temperature (MIL-H-6615, latest revision)



















Hose-handling equipment consists of devices such as cranes, slings, hoists, winches, A-frames, and gin poles. This equipment is usually located at the end of piers. It is used to lift and suspend cargo hoses for fuel transfer. It is rigged to allow movement of the ship during transfer operations. Maintenance requirements of hose-handling equipment include the following.

  • Lubricate all moving parts that are visible.
  • Check for structural damage such as dents, buckling, cracks, and rust.
  • Tighten all loose nuts on bolts and any other loose fixtures.
  • Oil wire cables to keep them rust free.
  • Test wire cables at least every 6 months.


Marine loading arms (Chapter 4) are being used instead of hoses and hose-handling equipment at many waterfront facilities. Marine loading arms have a hydraulics system or a set of cables which moves the piping into position. Swivel joints provide a flexible connection between the piping and a tanker. Maintenance requirements of marine loading arms include the following.

  • Lubricate the ball bearings in the swivel joints.
  • Replace the packing, seals, and O-rings if a leak develops in the swivel joints. Follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Inspect the outside surface for rust. If necessary, scrape to bare metal and then spot paint with primer and rust-inhibiting semigloss enamel.
  • Check the hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic arm. See the manufacturer’s manual for more information.


Do Not adjust the cables in a cable-operated arm. This is not organizational level maintenance.


Bollards, bits, and capstans are hardware devices used to moor a ship to a pier or jetty. These devices are made of cast iron or steel. They are fastened to the pier with anchor bolts. Line handling devices are subject to corrosion. The anchor bolts are especially subject to corrosion where they come in contact with the castings. Maintenance requirements of line handling equipment include the following.

  • Grout under the castings and coat the anchor bolts, nuts, and washers with asphalt enamel.
  • Inspect` the grouting and coatings often and repair them as needed.


A multileg mooring facility (Figure 10-4) is used to anchor a tanker in position offshore during a fuel transfer. A mooring facility is located at the ocean end of submarine pipelines. Depending on the size of the tankers to be moored, the mooring facility can have three, five, or seven legs as shown in Figure 10-6. Each leg of a multileg mooring facility is made up of a marker buoy, sinker, anchor, and chain. The chains and buoys are subject to much wear and tear from the ocean and moving vessels. Maintenance requirements of the mooring facilities include the following.

  • Lift the chains and inspect them for corrosion and uneven wear at least once a year.
  • Clean and recoat the chains if necessary. Replace worn chains.
  • Make sure cotter keys and forelock pins are securely in place in mooring chains.
  • Inspect buoys frequently.
  • Lift, sandblast, and recoat buoys with anticorrosive primer and antifouling paint at least once a year to keep them watertight and to prevent corrosion.

Figure 10-6. Typical mooring


All the metal structures and pipelines on piers should be grounded. Also, ships and tankers should be grounded and bonded with a flexible copper cable during fuel transfers. Maintenance requirements for the pier grounding systems include the following.

  • Check all cables for positive connection before each transfer operation of fuels.
  • Ensure all cables have a C-clamp or a device with sharp teeth or prongs to make contact with the metal under the painted surface of the ship
  • Test the system frequently. Replace broken wires and tighten loose connections as needed.

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