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FM Global

Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets 7-88


January 2007
Interim Revision April 2018
Page 1 of 45

IGNITABLE LIQUID STORAGE TANKS

Table of Contents
Page

1.0 SCOPE .................................................................................................................................................... 3


1.1 Changes ............................................................................................................................................ 3
2.0 LOSS PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................ 3
2.1 General ............................................................................................................................................. 3
2.1.1 Atypical Ignitable Liquids ......................................................................................................... 3
2.2 Construction and Location ............................................................................................................... 5
2.2.1 General ................................................................................................................................... 5
2.2.2. Exterior Aboveground Tanks ................................................................................................. 8
2.2.3 Exterior Buried Tanks ........................................................................................................... 11
2.2.4 Indoor Tanks .......................................................................................................................... 11
2.2.5 Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) ..................................................................................... 16
2.2.6 Protection Against Flooding ................................................................................................. 16
2.2.7 Earthquake ............................................................................................................................ 16
2.3 Occupancy ...................................................................................................................................... 16
2.3.1 General ................................................................................................................................. 16
2.3.2 Normal and Emergency Venting .......................................................................................... 18
2.2.3 Asphalt Tanks ........................................................................................................................ 26
2.4 Protection ....................................................................................................................................... 27
2.4.1 Indoor Tanks ......................................................................................................................... 27
2.4.2 Outdoor Tanks ...................................................................................................................... 29
2.5 Operation and Maintenance ........................................................................................................... 31
2.6 Training ............................................................................................................................................ 32
2.7 Human Factor .................................................................................................................................. 32
2.8 Ignition Source Control .................................................................................................................... 32
3.0 SUPPORT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS .............................................................................................. 33
3.1 Background information ................................................................................................................. 33
3.1.1 Hazards ................................................................................................................................ 33
3.1.2 Types of Tanks .................................................................................................................... 34
3.1.3 Indoor Tanks ......................................................................................................................... 36
3.1.4 Tank Spacing and Containment ............................................................................................ 37
3.1.5 Manifolded Vents ................................................................................................................. 37
3.1.6 Asphalt Tanks ....................................................................................................................... 39
3.1.7 Fire Protection ..................................................................................................................... 40
4.0 REFERENCES ...................................................................................................................................... 40
4.1 FM Global ........................................................................................................................................ 40
4.2 Others .............................................................................................................................................. 41
APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF TERMS ....................................................................................................... 42
APPENDIX B DOCUMENT REVISION HISTORY ....................................................................................... 44

List of Figures
Fig. 1. Horizontal aboveground tank .............................................................................................................. 6
Fig. 2. Buried tank with flame arrester ........................................................................................................ 12
Fig. 3. Water spray protection for steel columns ........................................................................................ 13
Fig. 4. Enclosed indoor tank ........................................................................................................................ 15
Fig. 5. Cone roof vertical tank ..................................................................................................................... 17

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 2 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Fig. 6. Safe gauging methods ..................................................................................................................... 18


Fig. 7. Manifolded tanks .............................................................................................................................. 25
Fig. 8. Required pipe sizing if detonation arrester is smaller than nearby piping ...................................... 25
Fig. 9. Improper piping around detonation arrester ..................................................................................... 25
Fig. 10. Open top double deck .................................................................................................................... 35
Fig. 11. Open top pontoon ........................................................................................................................... 35
Fig. 12. Pan-type covered tanks .................................................................................................................. 36
Fig. 13. Detonation arrester ......................................................................................................................... 37
Fig. 14. Storage tank with flame arrester .................................................................................................... 38
Fig. 15. End-of-line flame arrester ............................................................................................................... 38
Fig. 16. End-of-line flame arrester with pipe-away flange ........................................................................... 39
Fig. 17. Backflash interrupter ....................................................................................................................... 39
Fig. 18. Typical conservation vent ................................................................................................................ 43

List of Tables
Table 1.Support (Saddle) Width for Horizontal Steel Flammable Liquid Tanks ............................................ 6
Table 2.Spacing for Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks and Loading/Unloading Stations ................................ 8
Table 3.Subdivision of Dikes Containing Two or More Tanks ....................................................................... 9
Table 4.Spacing for Ignitable Liquid Tank Containment Dikes ..................................................................... 9
Table 5.Drainage and Containment for Indoor Tank Rooms ....................................................................... 14
Table 6.Size of Opening for Normal Venting ............................................................................................... 19
Table 7.Required Thermal (Normal) Venting Capacity ................................................................................ 20
Table 8.Typical Vent Line Size for Buried Tanks ......................................................................................... 21
Table 9.Capacities for Emergency Relief of Excessive Internal Pressure for Aboveground Tanks
Operating at 1 psig (7 kPa) or less ................................................................................................ 22
Table 10. Values for L (M) ............................................................................................................................. 23
Table 11. Environmental Factors for Emergency Venting Capacity (use only one factor) ........................... 24
Table 12. Sprinkler Density for Storage Tank Rooms .................................................................................. 28
Table 13. Hose Stream Demand for Tanks Storing Ignitable Liquids ......................................................... 30
Table 14. Estimated Water Demand for Fixed Foam Protection for a Full Surface Fire ............................. 31
Table 15. Safety Distances for Hot Work, Open Flames, Maintenance, Repair or Modification ................. 33

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
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1.0 SCOPE
The recommendations in this data sheet apply to chemically stable or unstable ignitable liquid when stored
in atmospheric pressure (operating at less than 1 psig [0.07 barg]) or low pressure (operating over 1 psig
[0.07 barg] and less than 15 psig [1 barg]) tanks.
This data sheet applies to storage in horizontal and vertical tanks usually constructed of metal and located
aboveground, underground, or inside buildings. Storage in floating roof tanks is not addressed. For guidance
on floating roof tanks, refer to NFPA 30, Flammable Liquid Storage in Portable Containers, or equivalent
national or international standards.
This data sheet provides recommendations for intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), when used to supply
liquid to a process. Storage of IBCs is covered by Data Sheet 7-29, Ignitable Liquid Storage in Portable
Containers.
This data sheet does not cover all aspects of pumping operations as represented by load and unload racks,
pump pads at tank farms, or fuel pumping and transfer systems in buildings. Spacing criteria for some of
these peripheral operations are provided in Table 2. For other aspects, refer to Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable
Liquid Operations.
The recommendations for drainage, fire protection, separation, or diking do not apply to day tanks or other
process tanks. Locate and protect these tanks in accordance with the appropriate FM Global property loss
prevention data sheet, such as Data Sheet 7-14, Fire Protection for Chemical Plants; Data Sheet 7-30, Solvent
Extraction Plants; Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations, or Data Sheet 7-43/17-2, Process Safety.
This data sheet does not apply to ignitable liquid or flammable gas stored in pressure vessels above 15 psig
(1 barg). See Data Sheet 7-55, Liquefied Petroleum Gases, for such storages.
This data sheet addresses methods to prevent flame propagation throughout low-pressure ignitable liquid
storage tanks that are manifolded together to reduce atmospheric emissions where the presence of an
ignitable vapor-air mixture in normal operation is likely.
This data sheet does not address preventing flame propagation in fuel gas piping systems (see Data Sheet
6-10, Process Furnaces) in systems handling acetylene (see Data Sheet 7-51, Acetylene), or in fume
collection systems for process equipment (see Data Sheet 7-78, Industrial Exhaust Systems).

1.1 Changes
April 2018. Interim revision. Lowered the flash point threshold of very hight flashpoint liquids from 500°F
(260°C) to 450°F (232°C) to be consistent with other ignitable liquid data sheets.

2.0 LOSS PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS

2.1 General

2.1.1 Atypical Ignitable Liquids

2.1.1.1 Liquids with Closed-Cup Flash Points at or above 450°F (232°C)


2.1.1.1.1 Have FM Global (or another nationally recognized testing laboratory) determine the closed-cup
flash point of the liquid in accordance with one of the following test methods:
• ASTM D56, Standard Test Method for Flash Point by Tag Closed Tester
• ASTM D93, Standard Test Methods for Flash Point by Pensky-Martens Closed-cup Tester
• ISO 2719, Petroleum Products and Lubricants Determination of Flash Point-Pensky-Martens Closed-cup
Method
Have the test repeated three times. If the closed-cup flash point is at or above 450°F (232°C) for the average
of all three runs, protect the storage of the liquid in accordance with this section.
2.1.1.1.2 Protect liquids with confirmed closed-cup flash points at or above 450°F (232°C) that are heated
above 150°F (65°C) in accordance with the recommendations in this data sheet for liquids with a flash point
at or above 200°F (93°C).

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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2.1.1.1.3 Liquids not heated above 150°F (65°C) with confirmed closed-cup flash points at or above 450°F
(232°C) that are stored in fixed outdoor tanks do not need containment dikes or separation beyond what
is (a) necessary for controlling contamination of adjacent areas or (b) required by local environmental
regulations.
2.1.1.1.4 Protect liquids not heated above 150°F (65°C) with confirmed closed-cup flash points at or above
450°F (232°C) that are stored in fixed indoor tanks as follows:
A. Provide a curb around the tank sized for the full contents of the tank.
B. Drainage is not needed.
C. A cutoff room is not needed.
D. The curb may be adjacent to surrounding occupancies.
E. Provide ceiling sprinklers designed to protect the surrounding occupancy. Use a minimum ceiling
sprinkler design of 0.2 gpm/ft2 (8 mm/min) over 2500 ft2 (232 m2).

2.1.1.2 Silicone Fluids and Silicone Emulsions


Silicone fluids are also referred to as siloxanes or methyl siloxanes and these materials should be treated
as straight chain silicones as referenced in this section. Methylhydrogen siloxanes and organofunctional
silanes are higher hazard and should be treated as traditional ignitable liquids.
2.1.1.2.1 Silicone emulsions consisting of up to 50% silicone fluid in water are not ignitable liquids.
2.1.1.2.2 Protect straight chain silicone fluids with a closed-cup flash point at or above 450°F (232°C) in
accordance with 2.1.1.1.
2.1.1.2.3 Protect straight chain silicone fluids with a closed-cup flash point greater than or equal to 200°F
(93°C) that are heated in accordance with the recommendations in this data sheet for liquids with a flash point
at or above 200°F (93°C).
2.1.1.2.4 Protect straight chain silicone fluids with a closed-cup flash point greater than or equal to 200°F
(93°C) that are unheated, gravity transferred, and cannot be spilled from an elevated structure (this includes
dispensing from one-high composite IBCs) as follows:
A. Provide a curb sized for the largest expected spill plus 2 in. (51 mm) of freeboard around the tank.
B. Drainage is not needed.
C. Isolate the silicone fluid use area from storage areas and any area sensitive to nonthermal
contamination.
D. Design ceiling sprinklers to provide 0.3 gpm/ft2 (12 mm/min) over 2500 ft2 (232 m2) using K 8.0 (115),
165°F (74°C) sprinklers.
2.1.1.2.5 Protect all silicone fluids with flash points less than 200°F (93°C) as an ignitable liquid in accordance
with their flash point and this data sheet.

2.1.1.3 Water-Based Polyurethane Foam Packaging Systems


This section applies only to water-based packaging systems. There are other versions of these materials
in industry for manufacturing many types of urethane foam products. Protect storage of these other liquids
as ignitable liquids based on their flash point.
2.1.1.3.1 Polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate (polymeric MDI or PMDI) is an ignitable liquid, but the actual
fire hazard it creates is limited. A pool of PMDI will only produce limited flame heights regardless of pool
size. A local ignition will spread across the entire pool surface, creating a large area ignition source. The design
of ceiling sprinkler protection is not critical, but containment is important to limit the pool area.
2.1.1.3.2 PMDI stored in fixed outdoor tanks does not need containment dikes or separation beyond what
is (a) necessary for controlling contamination of adjacent areas or (b) required by local environmental
regulations.
2.1.1.3.3 Protect PMDI stored in fixed indoor tanks as follows:

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A. Provide a curb sized for the largest expected spill plus 2 in. (51 mm) of freeboard around the liquid
use area.
B. Drainage is not needed.
C. A cutoff room is not needed.
D. The curb may be adjacent to surrounding occupancies.
E. Provide ceiling sprinklers designed to protect the surrounding occupancy or provide a minimum design
of 0.2 gpm/ft2 (8 mm/min) over 2500 ft2 (232 m2).
2.1.1.3.4 Polyol is not considered an ignitable liquid unless it is blended with oil. The polyol used in packaging
systems is usually not blended with oil.

2.1.1.4 Butterfat
2.1.1.4.1 Protect butterfat as an ignitable liquid with a closed cup flash point above 450°F (232°C).

2.1.1.5 Propylene and Ethylene Glycol Mixtures


2.1.1.5.1 Treat mixtures of glycol and water with more than 80% glycol as an ignitable liquid in accordance
with its flash point. Glycol-water mixtures with 80% or less glycol do not need to be treated as an ignitable
liquid. Glycols are high flash point, water-miscible, ignitable liquids. They do not exhibit a fire point in
glycol-water mixtures with 80% or less glycol.

2.2 Construction and Location

2.2.1 General
2.2.1.1 Construct atmospheric tanks (operating at less than 1 psig [0.07 barg]) in accordance with the following
engineering standards or applicable national or international equivalents:
A. American Petroleum Institute (API) 650, Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage
B. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 142, Standard for Steel Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and
Combustible Liquids
C. UL 2080, Fire Resistant Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids
D. UL 2085, Protected Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids
E. UL 58, Standard for Steel Underground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids
2.1.1.2 Construct low-pressure tanks (operating at more than 1 psig [0.07 barg] but less than 15 psig [1 barg])
in accordance with the following recognized engineering standards or suitable national or international
equivalents:
A. API Standard 620, Design and Construction of Large, Welded, Low-Pressure Storage Tanks
B. Code for Unfired Pressure Vessels, Section VIII, Division 1 of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code
C. EN BS 14015, Specification for Design and Manufacture of Site Built, Vertical, Cylindrical, Flat-
Bottomed, Aboveground, Welded, Steel Tanks for the Storage OF Liquids at Ambient Temperatures and
Above
D. EN 12285, Part 1, Workshop Fabricated Steel Tanks — Horizontal Cylindrical Single and Double Skin
Tanks for Underground Storage of Flammable and Non-Flammable Water Polluting Liquids
E. EN 12285, Part 2, Workshop Fabricated Steel Tanks — Horizontal Cylindrical Single and Double Skin
Tanks for Aboveground Storage of Flammable and Non-Flammable Water Polluting Liquids
2.2.1.3 Design supports for horizontal cylindrical tanks to minimize settlement or lateral movement that could
result in overstress or rupture of the tank or associated pipe and fittings.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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A. Provide supports of fire-resistive construction (e.g., saddles of reinforced concrete as shown in


Figure 1), with at least one-third of the circumference of the tank bearing on the supports. Protect
reinforcing steel in concrete saddles with at least 2 in. (50 mm) of concrete.
B. Design saddles in accordance with Table 1.
C. Provide fireproofing of tank supports that are structural steel with a material having a fire resistance
of 2 hours (concrete in accordance with Data Sheet 1-21, Fire Resistance of Building Assemblies, or an
FM Approved coating rated for process structure or tank protection) or protected with automatic water
spray nozzles in accordance with Data Sheet 4-1N, Fixed Water Spray Systems for Fire Protection.
D. Provide bracing to prevent movement in locations subject to earthquakes.
E. In an area subject to flooding, anchor tanks to prevent either full or empty tanks from floating during
a rise in water level up to the maximum flood stage. Details are given in Section 2.2.6, Protection against
Flooding.

Table 1. Support (Saddle) Width for Horizontal Steel Flammable Liquid Tanks
> 35,000
> 550 ≤ 1100 > 1100 ≤ 9,000 > 1100 ≤ 35,000 ≤ 50,000
Capacity, gal (m3) ≤ 550 (2.1) (2.1 – 4.2) (4.2 – 34) (4.2 – 133) (133 – 189)
Tank diameter, 48 (1220) 64 (1625) 76 (1930) 144 (3660) 144 (3660)
in (mm)
Saddle width, 4.5 (115) 6 (150) 6 (150) 9 (230) 10 (255)
in (mm)

Fig. 1. Horizontal aboveground tank

2.2.1.4 Pressure vessels and low-pressure tanks may be used as atmospheric storage tanks. Where unstable
liquids are stored, see 2.3.2.11.7.
2.2.1.5 Fixed tanks of combustible construction (usually glass fiber-reinforced plastic) may be used in the
following instances:
A. For underground installation

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B. Where required by the properties of the liquid stored


C. For liquids with flash point greater than 200°F (93°C) stored outdoors where not exposed to the leakage
of liquids with lower flash point
D. For liquids with flash point greater than 200°F (93°C) (or any flash point if required as in 2.2.1.5B)
stored indoors with suitable automatic sprinkler protection and containment and installed in accordance
with Section 2.2.4.

2.2.1.6. Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Tanks


2.2.1.6.1 Construct the tank in accordance with the following recognized engineering standards or suitable
national or international equivalents:
A. UL 1316, Standard for Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic Underground Storage Tanks for Petroleum
Products, Alcohols, and Alcohol-Gasoline Mixtures
B. API Specification 12P, Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Tanks
C. ASTM D3299-Standard Specification for Filament Wound Glass Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Resin
Chemical Resistant Tanks.
D. ASTM D4097-Standard Specification for Contact Molded Glass Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Resin
Chemical Resistant Tanks.
E. EN BS 13121 GRP Tanks and Vessels for Use Aboveground.
Part 1: Raw materials – specification and acceptance conditions
Part 2: Composite materials – chemical resistance
Part 3: Design and Workmanship
Part 4: Delivery, installation and maintenance
2.2.1.6.2 Install aboveground tanks on a concrete pad in the vertical position only.
2.2.1.6.3 Store only chemically stable liquids, compatible with the reinforced plastic.
2.2.1.6.4 Provide separate dikes for all reinforced plastic tanks over 2,500 gal (9.5 m3).
2.2.1.6.5 Provide spacing for all reinforced plastic tanks in accordance with Table 2.
2.2.1.6.6 On tanks containing liquids with flash point less than 100°F (38°C), install conductive metal fill
and discharge lines, supported internally and extending to within 3 in. (76 mm) of the tank bottom, and
provide a static ground to dissipate charges that can accumulate during filling operations.
2.2.1.6.7 Install buried tanks in strict conformance to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2.2.1.7. Construct tanks that have special features, such as corrosion resistance, with strength equivalent
to that of steel tanks.
2.2.1.8 Concrete tanks without liners may be used for the storage of liquids with flash points higher than
100°F (38°C) and specific gravities greater than 0.8.
2.2.1.9 Concrete tanks with combustible or noncombustible liners may be used for the storage of liquids
with flash points lower than 100°F (38°C) when designed in accordance with recognized engineering
standards. Choose the type and thickness of the liner depending on the properties of the liquid to be stored.
2.2.1.10 Provide rectangular steel tanks with internal braces to withstand hydrostatic loads in accordance
with recognized engineering standards.
2.2.1.11 Where combustible plastic insulation is used on storage tanks, install a proper fire protective coating
over the insulation or install FM Approved Class 1 insulation. See Data Sheet 1-57, Plastics in Construction,
for additional guidance.
2.2.1.12 Prior to being placed in service, test all tanks in accordance with the standard under which they
were constructed; generally, by filling the tanks with water and observing them for leakage.

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2.2.2. Exterior Aboveground Tanks


2.2.2.1 Locate aboveground tanks on ground sloping away from main facility buildings and plant utility
installations. On hilly terrain, provide drainage or dikes to bypass buildings or installations at lower levels.
2.2.2.2 Locate tanks with respect to buildings and other tanks in accordance with Table 2.
2.2.2.2.1 Where liquids with closed cup flash points at or above 450°F (232°C), or silicone fluids with closed
cup flash points at or above 200°F (93°C), are stored, Table 2 does not apply. Spacing with respect to
buildings or other tanks is not critical for these atypical ignitable liquids.

Table 2. Spacing for Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks and Loading/Unloading Stations
Liquid Flash Point (1)(2)
Liquid, Arrangement ≤ 140°F (60°C) > 140°F (60°C)
Stable liquids, tank to bldgs of non combustible or better 1 D (min. 75 ft, 23 m) 0.5 D (min. 50 ft, 15 m)
construction (See Appendix A) or open process structures (3)
Stable liquids, tank to buildings of combustible construction 2 D (min. 125 ft, 38 m) 1 D (min. 75 ft, 23 m)
(See Appendix A)
Stable liquids in listed UL 2080 or 2085 containers See Section 2.2.2.6
Unstable liquids, tank to bldgs of any construction 2 D (min. 125 ft, 38 m) 1 D (min 75 ft, 23 m)
Stable liquids, tank to tank 0.5 D (min. 3 ft, 0.9 m) 0.5 D (min. 3 ft, 0.9 m)
Unstable liquids, tank to tank 1 D (min. 5 ft, 1.5 m) 1 D (min. 5 ft, 1.5 m)
Tank truck and railcar loading/unloading to tank, (4) 75 ft (23 m) 50 (15 m)
Tanks (single or multiple) to LPG storage Minimum 100 ft (30 m) or 1 D
Notes
1
Where tanks are equipped with internal heating systems and store liquids subject to boil over, froth over, or slop over, evaluate as if
containing liquids with flash points ≤ 140°F (60°C), regardless of their flashpoint.
2
D refers to the diameter of the largest flammable liquid tank.
3
Open process structure refers to areas of one or multiple levels used to manufacture chemicals. Intermediate tanks considered part of
the process are excluded from this spacing requirement.
4
For separation between loading/unloading facilities and buildings, see DS 7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations.

2.2.2.3 Provide containment for tanks containing flammable liquids with flash points below 200°F (93°C) by
remote impounding, dikes around the tanks, or secondary containment. Containment may still be necessary
for liquids with higher flash points for controlling contamination of adjacent areas or to satisfy local
environmental or other government regulations.
2.2.2.4 Construct dikes used to provide containment around the tanks according to the following criteria:
A. Size dikes to hold 100% of the contents of the largest tank within the diked area. The volume occupied
by this tank below the top of the dike may be considered part of the dike capacity unless the liquid stored
is subject to boil over. The volumes of all other tanks below the top of the dike must be deducted when
calculating dike capacity.
B. Construct dike walls of earth, steel, concrete, or solid masonry, designed to be liquid-tight and to
withstand a full hydrostatic head by release of tank contents.
C. Provide earthen walls 3 ft (1 m) or more in height with a flat section at the top not less than 2 ft (0.6
m) wide with the wall slope consistent with the angle of repose of the material of which the wall is
constructed.
D. Control vegetation, desirable protection against erosion, so as not to impede fire fighters or add to
the fire hazard.
E. Limit the height of dikes, regardless of construction, to 6 ft (2 m) to minimize the chances of pocketing
flammable vapors and to facilitate fire fighting.
F. Provide drainage to remove water from within diked areas at a minimum uniform slope of 1% away
from tanks toward a sump, a drain box, or other means of disposal located at a safe distance from the
tank.
G. Design drains to prevent liquids from entering natural water courses, public sewers, or drains. Trap
drain lines and provide valves on the lines, outside the dike, so they are accessible under fire conditions.
Protect the traps from freezing.

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H. Limit dikes to contain an aggregate capacity of 5,000,000 gal (18,900 m3), except were individual tank
capacity exceeds 5,000,000 gal (18,900 m3) in which case, ensure the dike contains only one tank.
I. Subdivide any dike containing two or more tanks by intermediate dikes or channels in accordance with
Table 3.
J. Build intermediate dikes at least 18 in. (460 mm) high.
K. Provide separation between a tank and the dike wall of at least one-half the tank diameter.
L. Provide separation between buildings and dike wall in accordance with Table 4.
M. Where tanks are arranged in more than two adjacent rows or in an irregular pattern, provide greater
spacing between tanks, additional dikes, or roadways so all tanks are accessible for firefighting.

Table 3. Subdivision of Dikes Containing Two or More Tanks


Liquid, Arrangement Subdivision Criteria
Stable liquids in weak seam roof tanks
• Subdivision for each tank over 420,000 gal (1,590 m3).
• Subdivision for each group of tanks with total capacity
up to 630,000 gal (2,390 m3), none individually over
420,000 gal (1,590 m3).
Stable liquids in horizontal tanks or vertical cone roof
tanks • Subdivision for each tank over 100,000 gal (380 m3).

• Subdivision for each group of tanks with total capacity


up to 150,000 gal (570 m3), none individually over
100,000 gal (380 m3).
Unstable liquids, no protection
• Unstable liquids in any type of tank need individual
subdivision.
Unstable liquids, protection
• Unstable liquids in any type of tank protected by water
spray in accordance with Data Sheet 4-1N, Fixed Water
Spray Systems for Fire Protection, can follow the
subdivision requirements above for ″stable liquids in
horizontal tanks or vertical cone roof tanks.″

Table 4. Spacing for Ignitable Liquid Tank Containment Dikes


Liquid Flash Point (1)(2)
Liquid, Arrangement ≤ 140°F (60°C) > 140°F (60°C)4
Stable liquids, dike wall to buildings of noncombustible or 1 D (min. 75 ft; 23 m; 0.5 D (min. 50 ft; 15 m;
better construction (See Appendix A) or open process max. 160 ft; 49 m) max. 160 ft; 49 m)
structures (3)

Stable liquids, dike wall to buildings of combustible construction 2 D (min. 125 ft, 38 m; 1 D (min. 75 ft, 23 m;
(See Appendix A) max. 215 ft; 66 m) max. 215 ft; 66 m)

Unstable liquids, dike wall to buildings any construction 2 D (min. 125 ft, 38 m; 1 D (min. 75 ft, 23 m;
max. 300 ft, 91 m) max. 300 ft, 91 m)

Notes
1
Where dikes contain tanks equipped with internal heating systems and store liquids subject to boil over, froth over, or slop over, protect
as liquids with flash points ≤ 140°F (60°C) regardless of their flashpoint.
2
D usually refers to the longest dike dimension, length, width, or diameter (if circular). However, where a non-circular dike is present, base
the spacing to the exposure on the exposing dimension, i.e., the side that most directly faces the exposed structure, vessel or other dike,
not necessarily the longest dimension.
3
Open process structure refers to areas of one or multiple levels used to manufacture chemicals. Intermediate tanks considered part of
the process are excluded from this spacing recomendation.
4
Note that containment is not necessary for tanks containing ignitable liquids with flash points >200°F (93°C). See Section 2.2.2.3.

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2.2.2.5 Remote Impounding Used for Containment


2.2.2.5.1 Provide drainage within diked areas at a minimum uniform slope of 1% away from tanks toward
the impounding basin.
2.2.2.5.2 Route drainage between the tanks and the impounding basin so that if the liquid in the system is
ignited, it will not seriously expose tanks or important buildings (refer to Data Sheet 7-83, Drainage and
Containment Systems for Ignitable Liquids, for guidance on the design of the drainage system).
2.2.2.5.3 Provide the impounding basin with a minimum capacity equal to twice the largest tank that could
drain to it.
2.2.2.5.4 Equip the impounding basin with means to drain off accumulations of water from precipitation.
2.2.2.5.5 Separate the impounding basin from important buildings and facilities according to the size of the
basin and the exposure potential to the building, as follows:
A. From buildings of ordinary or combustible construction (or from buildings containing hazardous
materials) having extensive window areas or associated combustible yard storage, spacing distance =
1.8 × basin diameter or diagonal.
B. From buildings of fire resistive or noncombustible construction not having extensive window areas,
hazardous materials, or associated combustible yard storage, spacing distance = 0.6 × basin diameter
or diagonal.
C. From ignitable liquid storage tanks, spacing distance = 0.3 × basin diameter or diagonal.
2.2.2.5.6 Provide each diked and/or subdivided area with drainage systems leading to the impounding basin.
Hydraulically design the drainage system from each diked or subdivided area as follows:
A. Provide drainage capacity from each subdivision in a dike capable of carrying off liquid at a rate not
less than that which could be released assuming a break in a bottom connection from the largest full tank
within the subdivision, or the maximum tank fill rate, whichever is more.
B. Use drainage system piping that is a minimum of 24 in. (60 cm) diameter.
C. Route piping under subdivisions and dikes to culverts or open channels leading to the impounding
basin.
D. Design culverts or open channels with the capacity to carry off liquid from all the drainage connections
within the diked area having the largest single tank, with the connections flowing at their maximum
capacity.
E. Design the culverts or channels with additional capacity to carry off the maximum expected discharge
of water from fire fighting operations.
F. Locate open channels a minimum of 50 ft (15 m) from important buildings and facilities.
G. Provide roads with culverts over the channels at intervals to permit access to the tanks for maintenance
or emergencies.
H. Pave channels with asphalt or concrete, or line them with smooth stone, metal, or compacted clay to
prevent growth of vegetation that could restrict liquid flow.
I. Provide a minimum of 1% slope for channels and culverts. Steeper slopes are advisable to reduce culvert
or channel size.
2.2.2.6. Secondary containment (i.e., double-walled) tanks do not need additional spill containment by way
of impounding basins or drainage if they meet all of the following criteria:
A. The tanks are listed as meeting the requirements of UL 2080 or 2085, or EN 12285, Part 2.
B. The tanks are limited to a capacity of 30,000 gal (113 m3). Locate tanks exceeding 30,000 gal (113
m3) in accordance with Table 2.
C. The tanks are limited to the storage of stable ignitable liquids.
D. The tanks are protected against vehicle impact by suitable barriers except where the tank is specifically
listed and marked as having passed vehicle-impact testing.

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 11

E. The tanks are properly supported in accordance with Section 2.2.1.3.


F. A means to prevent siphon flow from the tank is provided.
G. A means for determining the level of liquid in the tank is provided and accessible to the delivery operator.
H. A means to prevent overfilling is provided. Design the interlock to sound an alarm when the liquid level
in the tank reaches 90% of capacity and automatically stop delivery of liquid to the tank when the liquid
level in the tank reaches 95% of capacity, without restricting or interfering with the proper functioning of the
normal vent or the emergency vent.
I. The shutdown and interlock systems are tested and recorded at least monthly.
2.2.2.7 Double walled tanks that meet all of the criteria listed in Section 2.2.2.6 may be located with respect
to buildings or other tanks as follows:
A. Spaced a minimum of 5 ft (1.5 m) from building walls or openings.
B. Spaced a minimum of 3 ft (1 m) from adjacent tanks of the same type.

2.2.3 Exterior Buried Tanks


2.2.3.1 Locate buried tanks at least 5 ft (1.5 m) from building foundations and 2 ft (0.6 m) from other tanks
and pipelines. Where a choice of location is offered, choose the one farthest removed from below-grade
open areas such as pits and basements under important buildings.
2.2.3.2 Anchor the tanks where groundwater conditions are bad or where flooding is possible (Figure 2).
Details are given in Section 2.2.6, Protection Against Flooding, below.
2.2.3.3 Cover buried tanks with 2 ft (0.6 m) of earth, except under concrete paving at least 4 in. (100 mm)
thick, where 1 ft (0.3 m) of earth is sufficient. In either case, provide an additional 1 ft (0.3 m) of cover at tank
locations over which heavy vehicles pass. Reinforce paving over the tank and extend at least 1 ft (0.3 m)
beyond the tank perimeter in all directions to transmit the superimposed load to foundations beside the tank.
2.2.3.4 The equivalent of a location below ground may be obtained with a substantial portion of a tank above
grade. Earth is placed over the tank to form a 1 to 2 ft (0.3 to 0.6 m) cover at the angle of repose of the
fill used. A concrete retaining wall or lock-sheet steel piling may be placed around the tank and filled with
earth to reduce space requirements.
2.2.3.5 Protect tanks against corrosion as follows:
A. Provide at least 6 in. (150 mm) of well compacted clean gravel or sand around the tank.
B. Locate the tanks above the groundwater level.
C. Provide a protective coating on steel tanks. The base coat, usually applied by the manufacturer, acts
as a primer. The outer coating, applied in the field, needs to be compatible with the base coat.
D. Patch-paint portions of the protective coating damaged when the tank is installed.
E. Cathodic protection is an acceptable alternate to protective coatings.
2.2.3.6 Provide openings for normal venting in accordance with Section 2.3.2.10.2. Venting for fire exposure
is unnecessary.

2.2.4 Indoor Tanks


If storage tanks are designed properly and adequate safeguards are provided in accordance with this data
sheet, it is not necessary to limit the quantity of liquid in the tank to a specific volume. Other local codes,
however, may impose limitations on the total capacity of indoor storage tanks.
2.2.4.1 Where ignitable liquid storage tanks must be located inside important buildings, locate the tank(s)
at grade level and provide a cut-off room for the purpose of containing the liquid storage tank(s). Provide
concrete or masonry construction with a minimum one-hour fire-rating for the cut-off room, including similarly
rated doors for any openings into the main building. Locate the room along an outside wall, preferably at
an exterior corner, with openings accessible to firefighters.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 12 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Fig. 2. Buried tank with flame arrester

2.2.4.2 Avoid locating ignitable liquid storage tanks in below-grade spaces or on upper floors of multistory
buildings.
2.2.4.2.1 If unavoidable, arrange ignitable liquid storage tanks located above or below grade level as follows:
A. Provide a room separated from other occupancies by a wall of at least 3-hour fire-rated concrete or
masonry construction.
B. Completely cut off the floor of the room (i.e., no openings in the floor to the space below, to prevent
liquid or vapor escape) and design it to be liquid tight.

2.2.4.3 Structural Protection


2.2.4.3.1 Protect building structural elements that can be immersed in a liquid pool fire using one of the
following methods or equivalent:
A. Provide fireproofing equal to the fire rating of the cut-off room (i.e., one hour at grade level and 3 hours
above or below grade) or the expected fire duration, whichever is greater. Provide fireproofing that is rated
for a hydrocarbon fire exposure. (See Data Sheet 1-21, Fire Resistance of Building Assemblies.)
B. Provide automatic (fusible link) sidewall sprinklers or water spray protection for the full height of the
column, as shown in Figure 3. The figure shows nozzles staggered on opposite sides of a wide-flange
column on 20 ft (6.1 m) centers. The black outline in the top view shows the reentrant space (web and
flanges) that must be wetted for the column to be cooled effectively. Provide a minimum 0.3 gpm/ft2 (12
mm/min) over the wetted area of the column (″wetted area″ is the surface area on the three sides of the
reentrant space formed by the column web and flanges). The wetted area protected by a sprinkler extends
from the sprinkler down to the next sprinkler on the same side of the column.
2.2.4.3.2 Provide a minimum 2 in. (5 cm) thick protective concrete coating around the base of steel columns
protected by lightweight fire-resistive coatings in areas subject to an ignitable liquid spill. Extend the coating
from floor level to a minimum of 2 in. (5 cm) above the estimated spill height.
Apply this recommendation to lightweight or non-cementitious coatings, such as mineral fiber, that have the
potential to absorb an ignitable liquid spill. This does not apply to heavy, dense coatings such as concrete,

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 13

Fig. 3. Water spray protection for steel columns

or dense proprietary coatings that weigh 40 to 60 lb/ft3 (640 to 960 kg/m3) (e.g., intumescent mastics or dense
cementitious types), which will not experience a significant adverse effect from wicking of liquid.
2.2.4.3.3 Repair spalled areas of fire-resistive coatings on structural framing if the spalled area exceeds more
than 4 in2 (26 cm2).
2.2.4.4 Provide the following features in indoor tank rooms to prevent the flow of ignitable liquids to outside
the room:
A. Provide containment for all tank areas.
B. Provide emergency drainage or an alternative in accordance with Table 5.
C. Use Data Sheet 7-83, Drainage and Containment Systems for Ignitable Liquids, to design the system.
D. Design curbs, walls and floors to be watertight.
E. Arrange drainage systems to prevent flammable vapor from backing up into buildings or rooms that
are tied into those systems. One method of accomplishing this is the use of trapped drains.
F. When designing containment or emergency drainage, account for the actual sprinkler system discharge
for the available water supply as opposed to the theoretical water flow.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 14 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Table 5. Drainage and Containment for Indoor Tank Rooms


Closed
CupFlash Point,
Liquid Type Drainage and/or Containment Options and Alternatives
≥450°F (232°C) Provide containment sized to hold a liquid release from the largest tank.
and not heated
above 150°F
(65°C)
≥200°F (93°C) 1. Provide containment and emergency drainage arranged to prevent the largest expected ignitable
--or-- liquid release plus actual sprinkler dischargea from leaving the room/building of origin. Provide 3 in.
≥450°F (232°C) (7.6 cm) of containment across all doorways.
and heated -- or --
above 150°F 2. Provide containment designed to prevent the largest expected ignitable liquid release plus actual
(65°C) and/or sprinkler dischargea from leaving the room/building of origin for the duration of the expected leak
pumped plus expected fire duration. Regardless of the calculated curb height, always provide a minimum 3
--or-- in. (7.6 cm) of containment.
Water Miscible -- or --
3. Provide an FM Approved foam-water sprinkler system, compressed air foam system (CAF), or
water mist system. Provide containment designed to keep the largest expected ignitable liquid
release plus foam/sprinkler/mist discharge in the room of origin for 20 minutes. Regardless of the
calculated curb height, always provide a minimum 3 in. (7.6 cm) of containment.
<200°F (93°C) 1.Provide emergency floor drainage and containment designed to limit liquid spread to no more
than the sprinkler operating area and to remove the largest expected ignitable liquid release plus
actual sprinkler dischargea from the room/building. Provide 3 in. (7.6 cm) of containment across all
doorways.
-- or --
2.Provide an FM Approved foam-water sprinkler system, compressed air foam system (CAF), or
water mist system. Provide containment designed to keep the largest expected ignitable liquid
release plus foam/sprinkler/mist discharge in the room of origin for 20 minutes. Regardless of the
calculated curb height, always provide a minimum 3 in. (7.6 cm) of containment.
Specific gravity Provide containment designed to hold the largest expected ignitable liquid release plus an
>1 additional 2 in. (51 mm) of freeboard. Limit the containment footprint to an area no larger than the
sprinkler operating area.
a
Actual sprinkler discharge is the amount of water that will actually discharge from the sprinklers as determined by the intersection of the
water supply and sprinkler system curves on a water supply analysis graph (as opposed to the theoretical water flow based on design density
and area).

2.2.4.5 Provide hard-piped fill lines terminating outside the building.


2.2.4.6 Provide overflow protection using a high-liquid-level device that automatically shuts down filling
operations on detection of a high liquid level in the tank using an automatic safety shut-off valve. Locate the
safety shut-off valve as close to the supply source (e.g., tank truck, rail car, etc.) connection as possible.
2.2.4.7 Arrange the discharge line to exit the top of the tank. For tanks with bottom discharge lines, provide
a safety shut-off valve (SSOV) at the tank outlet. If the valve will be exposed to a pool fire, use of a fusible
link-operated SSOV is acceptable unless there is a need for leak detection.
2.2.4.8 Arrange filling or discharge operations to automatically shut down in the event of a fire. FM Approved
water flow alarms; heat, smoke, flame detection; and fusible link operated safety shut off valves are
acceptable means of automatic shutdown.
2.2.4.9 In a non-industrial occupancy (e.g., retail, office, education, residential), interlock safety/emergency
shutoff valves with an FM Approved leak detector to automatically interrupt fill or discharge operations.
2.2.4.10 Provide properly sized normal and emergency relief vents hard-piped to a safe location outside
the building. See Section 2.3.2.
2.2.4.11 Support tanks either directly on the floor or in accordance with Section 2.2.1.3.
2.2.4.12 Design, locate, and arrange storage tanks and associated equipment and piping such that they
are protected against physical damage, as follows:
A. Locate equipment so the potential for vehicle impact damage is eliminated.
B. Provide noncombustible equipment and piping materials with high resistance to mechanical damage.
C. Where flanged connections are used, provide noncombustible gasket materials. Refer to Data Sheet
7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations, for further information regarding various gasket materials.

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 15

D. Locate piping overhead or in covered trenches in the floor.


2.2.4.13 An alternative to the arrangement described in Sections 2.2.4.1 through 2.2.4.12 is to locate the
tank in a liquid tight, concrete or brick-walled enclosure with the space between the tank and the wall filled
with sand to a depth of 1 ft (0.3 m) above the tank as in Figure 4.
A. Provide hard-piped fill lines terminating outside the building.
B. Provide overflow protection using a high-liquid-level device that automatically shuts down filling
operations on detection of a high liquid level in the tank using an automatic safety shut-off valve. Locate
the safety shut-off valve as close to the tanker truck connection as possible.
C. Provide properly sized normal and emergency relief vents hard piped to a safe location outside the
building. See Section 2.3.2.10.2.

Fig. 4. Enclosed indoor tank

2.2.4.14 Arrange pumps located inside buildings as follows:


A. Install positive displacement pumps.
B. Arrange the pump to take suction from the top of the tank. Elevate the pumps to the same elevation
as the top of the tank or provide an anti-siphon device. Locate the anti-siphon device as close to the tank
outlet as possible. (Some volatile liquids may require special pumping arrangements.)
C. Where a pump takes suction from the bottom of a tank, or when the pump is a centrifugal type, provide
a safety shut-off valve at the tank, interlocked to shut down the pump in the event of a leak or fire.
D. Provide a pressure-relief valve down stream of any positive displacement pump and pipe it back to
the tank.
E. Implement all other recommendations for ignitable liquid transfer systems located in Data Sheet 7-32,
Ignitable Liquid Operations.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 16 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

2.2.5 Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC)


2.2.5.1 Store metal, composite, or plastic IBCs inside or outside in accordance with the requirements of Data
Sheet 7-29, Ignitable Liquid Storage in Portable Containers.
2.2.5.2 Treat IBCs used to supply ignitable liquid to any type of process as indoor tanks and implement the
recommendations in Section 2.2.4.

2.2.6 Protection Against Flooding


2.2.6.1 Locate tanks above the design flood elevation and where they will not be subject to direct wave action
associated with coastal flooding. Use Data Sheet 1-40, Flood, to define the design flood elevation and areas
subject to direct wave action.
2.2.6.2 Design, construct, and anchor tanks that are exposed to flood to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral
movement from hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads. Consideration may also be needed to prevent
movement due to wave action for tanks located in coastal regions.
2.2.6.3 Install and anchor tanks that are below the design flood elevation to resist at least 1.5 times the
potential buoyant and other flood forces assumed to act on an empty tank.
2.2.6.4 Extend all tank vents or other openings that are not liquid-tight above the design flood elevation.

2.2.7 Earthquake
The following apply in FM Global 50-year through 500-year earthquake zones.
2.2.7.1 Provide restraint and appropriate flexibility in piping connections and associated tanks, pipe headers
and piping systems per Data Sheet 1-11, Fire Following Earthquakes.
2.2.7.2 Where tanks are located indoors, arrange all liquid transfer operations to be shut down during a
seismic event using seismic shutoff valves.

2.3 Occupancy

2.3.1 General
2.3.1.1 Make pipe connections to tanks above the normal liquid level.
2.3.1.2 Extend fill, return, and similar pipes below the lowest level of liquid in the tank or within about 6 in.
(150 mm) of the tank bottom (Figure 1).
2.3.1.3 Where bottom connections to ignitable liquid storage tanks are present:
A. Provide steel shutoff valves bolted or welded to the first flange connection on the tank. Where flanged
connections are used, provide noncombustible gasket materials. Refer to Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable
Liquid Operations, for further information regarding various gasket materials.
B. Keep valves closed except when liquid is being transferred. (Figure 5).
C. For tanks exceeding 10,000 gal (38 m3), provide valves that are manually controllable from a remote
location.
D. Provide a liquid-tight closure, such as a valve, plug, or blind, or a combination of these, on connections
below the liquid level through which liquid does not normally flow.
2.3.1.4 Do not permit piping in dikes to pass through a dike wall to an area containing other tanks which
could allow a spill or fire to spread to adjacent tanks.
2.3.1.5 Provide manway openings with a bolted, gasketed cover that is kept closed except when the tank
is opened for examination or maintenance (Figure 5).
2.3.1.6. Provide level-gauging or measuring devices for all tanks.
2.3.1.7 Where manual gauging connections are present, do the following:
A. Where liquids with flash point below 100°F (38°C) are present, use a method that will not expose the
vapor space to outside atmosphere.

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Fig. 5. Cone roof vertical tank

B. Avoid gauging equipment that will release large quantities of liquid if the equipment is damaged
mechanically or by an exposure fire.
C. Where a rod and gauging well is provided, extend a pipe down into the tank below the level of the
suction intake (Figure 6[a]) to provide a liquid seal at the bottom of the well that prevents vapors above
the main body of liquid from escaping during gauging.
D. Install FM Approved devices for safe gauging (level measurement) of tanks .
2.3.1.8 Provide high-level alarms that sound at an attended location.
2.3.1.9. Arrange heating equipment for tanks as follows:
A. Provide heat only in the vicinity of the suction intake for tanks storing liquids with flash point below
200°F (93°C).
B. Provide only enough heat to ensure free flow of the liquid.
C. Arrange suction pipe or outlet pipe connections to ensure that heating coils will always be submerged.
D. For metal tanks, use steam, hot water or FM Approved electric heaters. For reinforced plastic tanks,
use only steam or hot water.
E. Steam heating coils are commonly used on tanks containing No. 5 and No. 6 fuel oil and similar liquids
to reduce their viscosity for pumping. In one acceptable arrangement, a horizontal open-ended shell or
box contains the steam coils, and suction is taken from inside the shell. Another arrangement consists of
a vertical spiral steam coil located around a top-connected suction pipe; this is acceptable if the fill opening
is trapped or the fill pipe is extended below the level of the suction intake (Figure 1).
F. Provide a steam pressure-relief valve close to the tank, set at about 5 psi (35 kPa) over normal working
pressure, if steam is supplied through a reducing valve.
G. Provide FM Approved low-liquid-level and high-temperature interlocks to shut off the heating system.
2.3.1.10 Closely monitor all fill operations either by operator standing by or remote reading level gauges at
an occupied location.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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Fig. 6. Safe gauging methods

2.3.2 Normal and Emergency Venting


2.3.2.1 Provide normal venting to permit the intake and discharge of air during emptying and filling operations
and to permit expansion and contraction of vapor due to temperature changes.
2.3.2.2 Provide emergency venting to prevent the tank becoming overpressurized by fire exposure.
2.3.2.3 Where a mixture of several liquids is stored in the same tank, use the most volatile for the design
basis.
2.3.2.4 Normal and emergency venting can be provided by one opening with a minimum capacity equivalent
to the emergency vent requirement.
2.3.2.5 Provide normally closed venting devices (conservation vents) on tanks storing liquids with flash points
less than 73°F (23°C) and boiling points less than 100°F (38°C).

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2.3.2.6 Provide normally closed venting devices (conservation vents) or an FM Approved flash arrester on
tanks storing liquids with flash points above or equal to 73°F (23°C) and below 100°F (38°C), and with boiling
points above 100°F (38°C) or liquids that can be heated to their flash points under normal operating
conditions.
2.3.2.7 Prevent condensation in flame arresters on tanks containing liquids that solidify during cold weather
by providing a heating arrangement such as a steam coil at the arrester.
2.3.2.8 Where polymerization of a material may occur at the arrester, provide a dual arrester equipped with
a three-way valve so one arrester is always in service.
2.3.2.9 Where vent pipes are necessary to conduct vapors to a safe location, install them as follows:
A. Terminate vents close enough above the tank to avoid imposing a dangerous liquid head on the tank
if liquid overflows through the vent.
B. Extend vent pipe connections from indoor tanks to outside the building.
C. Terminate vents at a location free of potential ignition sources and away from openings through which
vapors can leak back into the building or locations where combustible construction would be exposed
by a fire burning at the end of the vent.
D. Arrange horizontal runs of pipe to drain back to the tank.
E. Arrange the outlet and drains of vents on tanks operating at pressures in excess of 2.5 psig (17 kPa)
so they do not direct vapor discharge back onto the tank.
F. Terminate open vents either with a weather protective hood or a U-bend to keep out rain and provide
coarse screens to prevent foreign matter from obstructing the pipe.
G. Do not permit manifolding of tank vents for vapor recovery or air pollution control except in accordance
with Section 2.3.2.12.

2.3.2.10 Normal venting


2.3.2.10.1 Aboveground Tanks
A. For tanks with less than 50,000 gal (189 m3) capacity, the vent opening to meet normal venting
requirements can be in accordance with Table 6, but at least as large as the largest of the fill or withdrawal
connection.

Table 6. Size of Opening for Normal Venting


Tank Capacity, gals (m3) Minimum diameter, nominal pipe size, in. (mm)
Less than 2,500 (9.5) 1 ¼ (30)
2,500 – 3,000 (9.5 – 11) 1 1⁄2 (40)
3,001 – 10,000 (11 – 38) 2 (50)
10,001 – 20,000 (38 – 76) 2 1⁄2 (65)
20,001 – 35,000 (76 – 132) 3 (75)
35,001 – 50, 000 (132 – 189) 4 (100)

B. For tanks with a capacity exceeding 50,000 gal (189 m3) provide venting as follows:
1. Provide inbreathing (vacuum) capacity of 1 ft3/hr free air for each 7.5 gal/hr of the maximum emptying
rate (1 m3/hr inbreathing capacity for each 1 m3/hr emptying rate) plus the thermal venting capacity given
in Table 7.
2. For tanks storing liquid with a flash point ≤ 100°F (38°C), provide outbreathing (pressure) capacity of
1 ft3/hr free air for each 3.5 gal/hr of the maximum tank filling rate (1 m3/hr free air for each 0.47 m3/hr of
the maximum tank filling rate) plus the thermal venting capacity given in Table 7.
3. For tanks storing liquids with a flash point >100°F (38°C), provide outbreathing (pressure) capacity of
1 ft3/hr free air for each 7.0 gal/hr of the maximum tank filling rate (1 m3/hr free air for each 0.94 m3/hr
of the maximum tank filling rate) plus the thermal venting capacity given in Table 7.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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1
Table 7. Required Thermal (Normal) Venting Capacity
Pressure
Tank Capacity Vacuum Liquid Flash Point
gal 42-gal m3 All Stocks ≤ 100°F (38°C) >100°F (38°C)
barrels ft3/hr m3/hr ft3/hr m3/hr ft3/hr m3/hr
42,000 1,000 160 1,000 28 1,000 28 600 17
84,000 2,000 320 2,000 57 2,000 57 1,200 34
126,000 3,000 480 3,000 85 3,000 85 1,800 51
168,000 4,000 640 4,000 113 4,000 113 2,400 68
210,000 5,000 800 5,000 142 5,000 142 3,000 85
420,000 10,000 1,600 10,000 280 10,000 280 6,000 170
630,000 15,000 2,400 15,000 420 15,000 420 9,000 255
840,000 20,000 3,200 20,000 570 20,000 570 12,000 340
1,050,000 25,000 4,000 24,000 680 24,000 680 15,000 420
1,260,000 30,000 4,800 28,000 790 28,000 790 17,000 480
1,470,000 35,000 5,600 31,000 880 31,000 880 19,000 540
1,680,000 40,000 6,400 34,000 960 34,000 960 21,000 590
1,890,000 45,000 7,200 37,000 1,050 37,000 1,050 23,000 650
2,100,000 50,000 8,000 40,000 1,130 40,000 1,130 24,000 680
2,520,000 60,000 9,600 44,000 1,250 44,000 1,250 27,000 760
2,940,000 70,000 11,200 48,000 1,360 48,000 1,360 29,000 820
3,360,000 80,000 12,800 52,000 1,470 52,000 1,470 31,000 880
3,780,000 90,000 14,400 56,000 1,590 56,000 1,590 34,000 960
4,200,000 100,000 16,000 60,000 1,700 60,000 1,700 36,000 1,020
5,049,000 120,000 19,200 68,000 1,930 68,000 1,930 41,000 1,160
5,880,000 140,000 22,400 75,000 2,120 75,000 2,120 45,000 1,270
6,720,000 160,000 25,600 82,000 2,320 82,000 2,320 50,000 1,420
7,560,000 180,000 28,800 90,000 2,550 90,000 2,550 54,000 1,530
1.
Based on API Standard 2000, Venting Atmospheric and Low Pressure Storage Tanks, 5th Edition, 1998.
(These requirements are also in NFPA 30)

2.3.2.10.2 Buried Tanks


A. Provide vent pipes sized in accordance with Table 8 for the maximum flow in or out of the tank, but not
less than 1.25 in. (30 mm) nominal inside diameter to prevent blowback of vapor or liquid at the fill opening
while the tank is being filled.
B. Extend vents a minimum of 12 ft (3.7 m) aboveground level for liquids with flash points below or equal
to 100°F (38°C), and a minimum of 6 ft (1.8 m) aboveground level for liquids with flash points above 100°F
(38°C).
C. Arrange vent pipes without traps or pockets so liquid condensate can drain back to the tank.
D. Arrange vent pipes to discharge upward or horizontally away from adjacent walls.
E. Locate vent outlets so vapors will not be trapped by eaves or other obstructions and at least 5 ft (1.5 m)
from building openings and 15 ft (4.5 m) from powered air-intake devices.

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FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 21

Table 8. Typical Vent Line Size for Buried Tanks


Maximum In/Out Flow Vent Pipe Length
gpm m3/hr 50 ft 15 m 100 ft 30 m 200 ft 60 m

100 20 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm


200 45 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm
300 70 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄2 in 40 mm
400 90 1-1⁄4 in 30 mm 1-1⁄2 in 40 mm 2 in 50 mm
500 115 1-1⁄2 in 40 mm 1-1⁄2 in 40 mm 2 in 50 mm
600 135 1-1⁄2 in 40 mm 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm
700 160 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm
800 180 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm 3 in 75 mm
900 205 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm 3 in 75 mm
1000 225 2 in 50 mm 2 in 50 mm 3 in 75 mm

2.3.2.11 Emergency Venting


2.3.2.11.1 Provide aboveground storage tanks containing stable liquids with emergency relief venting in the
form of construction or a device to relieve excessive internal pressure that develops from fire exposure.
A. Relieving construction can be in the form of a floating roof or weak seam roof.
B. A relieving device can be in the form of a floating manhole arranged for relieving, an open pipe, or a
pressure relief valve suitable for the service. (UL 142, July 2002, section 8.10 – 12, provides design criteria
for floating manways.)
C. Emergency relief venting can be provided by the same device used for normal venting, provided it
has adequate capacity and pressure rating.
D. Stamp each commercial venting device, regardless of type, with its start-to-open pressure, the pressure
at which it reaches its full-open position, and the flow capacity of the device at that pressure. Express
all flow capacities in either cubic feet per hour of air at 60°F and 14.7 psia or cubic meters per hour of air
at 15°C and 100 kPa absolute.
E. Emergency venting is not required for FRP tanks as the tank will fail at around 200°F (93°C)
F. Emergency venting is not required for tanks over 12,000 gal (45 m3) capacity containing liquids with
flash points above 200°F (93°C) that are not exposed to spills from liquids with flash point less than or equal
to 200°F (93°C ). Note: Normal in-and out-breathing is still required.
2.3.2.11.2 Where stable liquids are stored in tanks operating at 1 psig (7 kPa) or less, provide relief
capacity/size of the relieving device or construction in accordance with Table 9. (Note: Tanks with weak seam
roof construction have adequate emergency venting but would need normal venting for in-breathing and
out-breathing)

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 22 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Table 9. Capacities for Emergency Relief of Excessive Internal Pressure for


Aboveground Tanks Operating at 1 psig (7 kPa) or less1
Wetted area of tank 2 Vent Capacity 3 Minimum opening, NPS 4
ft2 m2 3
ft free air per m3 free air per in mm
hour (ft3/hr) hour (m3/hr)
20 1.9 21,100 597 2 50
30 2.8 31,600 894 2 50
40 3.7 42,100 1,191 3 75
50 4.6 52,700 1,491 3 75
60 5.6 63,200 1,789 3 75
70 6.5 73,700 2,086 4 100
80 7.4 84,200 2,383 4 100
90 8.4 94,800 2,683 4 100
100 9.3 105,000 2,970 4 100
120 11.2 126,000 3,570 5 125
140 13.0 147,000 4,160 5 125
160 14.9 168,000 4,750 5 125
180 16.7 190,000 5,380 5 125
200 18.6 211,000 5,970 6 150
250 23.2 239,000 6,760 6 150
300 27.9 265,000 7,500 6 150
350 32.5 288,000 8,150 8 200
400 37.2 312,000 8,830 8 200
500 46.4 354,000 10,020 8 200
600 55.7 392,000 11,090 8 200
700 65.0 428,000 12,110 8 200
800 74.3 462,000 13,070 8 200
900 83.6 493,000 13,950 8 200
1,000 92.9 524,000 14,830 10 250
1,200 112 557,000 15,760 10 250
1,400 130 587,000 16,610 10 250
1,600 149 614,000 17,380 10 250
1,800 167 639,000 18,080 10 250
2,000 186 662,000 18,730 10 250
2,400 223 704,000 19,920 10 250
2,800 and over5 260 and over5 742,000 21,000 10 250
1.
This table is based on hexane. For other materials, Table 9 can be used for vent capacity adjustments.
2.
The wetted area of the tank is defined as 55% of the total exposed area of a sphere or spheroid, 75% of the total exposed area of a
horizontal tank, and the first 30 ft (10 m) above grade of the exposed shell area of a vertical tank. Include the bottom surface area of vertical
tanks mounted on supports, above grade.
3.
Based on atmospheric pressure of 14.7 psia and 60°F (100 kPa abs. and 15°C)
4.
Based on open vent pipes of the noted diameter not more than 12 in. (0.3 m) long with a tank venting pressure of not more than 2.5
psig (17 kPa).
5
For tanks operating at pressures less than 1 psig (7 kPa) and having wetted areas exceeding 2800 ft2 (260 m2), complete fire involvement
is unlikely and overheating will probably cause loss of metal strength in the vapor space before the development of a maximum
vapor-evolution rate. For such tanks, the maximum listed relief capacity is adequate.
For tanks operating at more than 1 psig (7 kPa) and having wetted areas exceeding 2800 ft2 (260 m2), the venting requirements are provided
in Section 2.3.2.11. 3.

2.3.2.11.3 For tanks operating at pressures greater than 1 psig (7 kPa) and having exposed wetted areas
greater than 2800 ft2 (260 m2), calculate the emergency venting capacity by one of the following formulae:

V = 1107 A0.82 (English)


V = 220 A0.82 (metric)
Where V = hexane vent requirement, ft3/hr or m3/hr (at standard conditions)
A = exposed wetted surface, ft2 or m2

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 23

2.3.2.11.4 Where the stored liquid is other than hexane, adjust the emergency venting capacity as follows:

V’ = V 1337 / L (M)1/2
V’ = V 3110 / L (M)1/2
Where: V = hexane vent requirement from Table 8, ft3/hr or m3/hr
V’ = stored liquid vent requirement, ft3/hr or m3/hr
L = latent heat of vaporization of stored liquid, Btu/lb or kJ/kg
M = molecular weight of stored liquid, no units
Table 10 lists L (M)1/2 for a number of common liquids. Data on other liquids can be found in most handbooks.
Note: the vent capacity determined from Table 9 is conservative compared to the other liquids listed in Table
10; that is, if the capacity of the existing vents is adequate for hexane, it will be adequate for most other
liquids.

Table 10. Values for L (M)1/2


Chemical L (M)1/2 Chemical L (M)1/2
English (1) Metric (1) English (1) Metric (1)

Acetic Acid 1350 3140 Ethyl acetate 1477 3436


Acetic Anhydride 1792 4168 Ethyl alcohol 2500 5815
Acetone 1708 3973 Ethyl chloride 1340 3117
Acetonitrile 2000 4652 Ethylene 1363 3170
dichloride
n-Amyl alcohol 2025 4710 Ethyl ether 1310 3047
iso-Amyl alcohol 1990 4629 Furan 1362 3168
Aniline 1795 4012 Furfural 1962 4564
Benzene 1493 3473 Gasoline 1370–1470 3187–3419
n-Butyl acetate 1432 3331 n-Heptane 1383 3217
n-Butyl alcohol 2185 5082 n-Hexane 1337 3110
iso-Butyl alcohol 2135 4966 Methyl alcohol 2680 6234
Carbon disulfide 1310 3047 Methyl ethyl 1623 3775
ketone
Chlorobenzene 1422 3308 n-Octane 1412 3284
Cyclohexane 1414 3289 n-Pentane 1300 3024
Cyclohexanol 1953 4543 n-Propyl acetate 1468 3415
Cyclohexanone 1625 3780 n-Propyl alcohol 2295 5338
o-Dichlorobenzene 1455 3384 iso-Propyl alcohol 2225 5175
cis- 1350 3140 Tetrahydrofuran 1428 3322
Dichloroethylene
Diethylamine 1403 3263 Toluene 1500 3489
Dimethyl 1997 4645 o-Xylene 1538 3577
acetamide
Dimethyl amine 1676 3898
(1)
L (heat of vaporization) in Btu/lb or kJ/kg

2.3.2.11.5 The venting capacity as determined by Sections 2.3.2.11.2 through 2.3.2.11.4, can be reduced
for the effect of drainage, sprinklers, insulation and low heat of combustion liquids (alcohols) using the
Environmental Factors presented in Table 11.
2.3.2.11.6 The total emergency venting capacity can be provided with specific construction or devices alone
or in combination with the opening(s) provided for normal venting.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 24 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Table 11. Environmental Factors for Emergency Venting Capacity (use only one factor)
Environmental Factor (F) 1 Basic 4 For low heat of combustion liquids 4, 5

Drainage 1 0.5 0.25


Water spray or sprinklers 2 & drainage 0.3 0.15
Water spray or sprinklers only 0.3 0.15
Insulated 3 0.3 0.15
Water spray & insulated 0.15 0.15
None of the above 1.0 0.5
1
Adequate drainage to remote impoundment in accordance with 2.2.2.5
.2 FM Approved water-spray installations in accordance with Data Sheet 4-1N, Fixed Water Spray Systems for Fire Protection, or automatic
sprinklers in accordance with Section 2.4.1 below.
3
FM Approved coating rated for process structure or tank protection
.4 Use either basic credit or low heat of combustion credit, not both
.5 Capacity reduction permitted for liquids whose heat of combustion and rate of burning are equal to or less than those of ethyl alcohol
(ethanol), 11,500 Btu/lb (26.8 kJ/g).

2.3.2.11.7 Where unstable liquids are stored, provide tank-venting capacity that accounts for the effects of
heat or gas produced by polymerization, decomposition, or self reactivity and the possibility of a two-phase
relief. Follow the design guidance for reactive systems in Data Sheet 7-49, Emergency Venting of Vessels.
2.3.2.12 Manifolded Vents
2.3.2.12.1 Do not manifold vent collection systems of tanks containing incompatible materials.
2.3.2.12.2 Do not manifold vent pipes from tanks containing liquids with flash points below or equal to 100°F
(38°C) with tanks containing liquids with flash points above 100°F (38°C).
2.3.2.12.3 Protect low-pressure storage tanks interconnected with fume recovery or collection systems
against explosion propagation if they normally contain ignitable mixtures AND ignition sources could be
(spontaneous heating) or are normally present (continuous flames as in flares, fume incinerators, etc.) by one
of the following methods:
A. Oxidant concentration reduction (e.g., inerting or purging). This method is limited to operations without
open manway activities, such as sampling, liquid or solids addition, etc. (NOTE: Do not use inerting in
tanks with monomers containing inhibitors that require oxygen to maintain activity. Examples:
hydroquinone and methyl ether of hydroquinone.) See Data Sheet 7-59, Inerting and Purging of Tanks,
Process Vessels, and Equipment.
B. Combustible concentration reduction (e.g., ventilation). See Data Sheet 7-78, Industrial Exhaust
Systems.
C. Explosion isolation (detonation arresters).
2.3.2.12.4 Where an explosion isolation system is needed, provide Approved detonation arresters as follows
(Figure 7):
A. At each tank, in the piping connecting it to the vapor recovery system.
B. At the end of the manifold immediately upstream of the feed nozzle for any vapor processing equipment;
for example, incinerators and scrubbers.
Note: Detonation arresters may not be appropriate in systems where powders are handled or added on a
regular basis. The arrester could become plugged and fail to handle normal in-and-out breathing.
2.3.2.12.5 Provide detonation arresters with temperature sensors on each side, and as close as possible
to the face of the arresting element. Arrange the sensor to automatically close valves or initiate other actions
that will eliminate the possibility of a stabilized flame burning on the arrester element. Do not locate the sensor
in a thermowell that will delay its response. If the sensor is to be a metal-sheathed thermocouple, it must
be of small diameter, e.g., 1⁄4 in. (6 mm), and must be inserted bare through a suitable packing gland.
2.3.2.16.6 Within 120 pipe diameters of the detonation arrester, install piping of equal or smaller diameter
than the detonation arrester.
Figures 8 and 9 are showing pipe sizing around detonation arrestors to meet this criteria.

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 25

Fig. 7. Manifolded tanks

Fig. 8. Required pipe sizing if detonation arrester is smaller than nearby piping

Fig. 9. Improper piping around detonation arrester

2.3.2.12.7 Where conditions of operation will significantly exceed approximately atmospheric pressure and
temperature, specifically test detonation arresters under the actual operating conditions. Detonation arresters
are capable of successfully stopping detonation fronts only in systems initially at approximately atmospheric
pressure and temperature.
2.3.2.12.8 Install detonation arresters where easily accessible for maintenance and inspection.
2.3.2.12.9 Install vapor-collection system piping in accordance with ASME B31.3, Chemical Plant and
Petroleum Refinery Piping, or international equivalent, designed for a maximum allowable working pressure
of 150 psig (10 barg).
2.3.2.12.10 Provide the flow capacity in common portions of manifolded vapor collection piping for the
maximum flow of all vents connected to that portion of the system.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 26 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

2.3.2.12.11 Consider insulation and/or heat tracing of the system and arrester in cold climates where freezing
or condensation of the vapor is possible. The heat tracing must be kept below the accepted operating range
of the arrester.
2.3.2.13 Indoor Tanks
2.3.2.13.1 Provide continuous low-level mechanical ventilation as specified in Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable
Liquid Operations.
2.3.3.13.2 Provide inert gas blanketing where tanks store liquid with a flash point below 100°F (38°C).

2.2.3 Asphalt Tanks


Asphalt storage tanks have been a frequent source of fire or explosion events. In addition to the other criteria
applying to outdoor tanks, the following represent good operating practice.
2.3.3.1 Ensure tank roofs are watertight.
2.3.3.2 Inspect tanks vents and the underside of the roof for accumulation of condensed material on a regular
basis and keep records of the inspection results.
2.3.3.3 Use tanks with weak seam roof (pressure relieving) construction per API 650 or similar.
2.3.3.4 Provide tanks with only one breather vent to minimize introduction of air into the vapor space.
2.3.3.5 Keep roof gauging and manway hatches closed to prevent unintended entry of air into the vapor
space.
2.3.3.6 Use gauging hatches rather than manways when checking liquid level to minimize air entry into the
tank vapor space.
2.3.3.7 Do not use pressure-vacuum (conservation) vents because condensed materials could prevent
operation of the vent.
A. Where inerting of the vapor space is used, conservation vents will be needed.
B. Inject the inert gas below the vents to keep them free of accumulations.
C. Inspect the vents on a regular basis and keep records of the inspection results
2.3.3.8 Maintain tank liquid levels above any internal heating coils that could cause localized overheating,
cracking of the liquids generating light ends and creating condensed deposits on the roof. Provide a reliable
method to monitor tank liquid level.
2.3.3.9 Route supply piping for heating systems below the lowest liquid surface level or insulate the pipe
with a non-permeable material.
2.3.3.10 Monitor the tank temperature with sensors located where it will be representative of bulk liquid
temperature. Keep sensors away from tank walls, near submerged heating coils, or and below normal
operating levels.
2.3.3.11 Maintain tank temperatures at safe levels with the following considerations:
A. Keep temperatures at least 25°F (14°C) below the flash point (out of the flammable range).
B. Keep temperatures out of the range of 212°F to 265°F (100°C to 130°C) to avoid water condensation.
C. Temperatures above 350°F (177°C) encourage asphalt condensation on the roof surface. Deposit can
oxidize, generate heat and possibly autoignite above 375°F (190°C).
D. Provide inert gas blanketing (oxygen concentration of 3% to 5%) for tanks operating at 350°F to 450°F
(177°C to 232°C) to prevent oxidation of deposits.
E. Do not store materials at temperatures above 450°F (232°C) which can promote cracking and production
of light hydrocarbons and increase the likelihood of operation in the flammable range.
2.3.3.12 Do not allow entry of piping or any fixtures to or through the tank roof which would hinder deployment
of the weak seam roof in an explosion.

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 27

2.3.3.13 Inspect internal tank heating coils for cracks, corrosion, and other damage whenever the tank is
out of service and keep records of the inspection results.
2.3.3.14 Take precautions to safely oxidize pyrophoric deposits before taking the tank out of service (see
API RP 2016 for details).
2.3.3.15 Follow a written procedure for returning long-idled tanks to service that addresses at least the
following:
A. Water accumulations that could boil on heating.
B. Residual product that may heat irregularly with localized overheating until the entire contents have
reached a uniform temperature.
C. Lighter products that might have been previously in the tank and addition of hot material that could
rapidly vaporize material and exceed vent capacity or cause the vapor space to enter the flammable range.
2.3.3.16 Develop an emergency response plan to address fire, explosion, and unexpected liquid release that
identifies the hazards, site layout, protection equipment, shutoff valves, etc., as well as specific response
to each type of event. Ensure outside responders are familiar with the response plan.

2.4 Protection

2.4.1 Indoor Tanks


2.4.1.1 Provide automatic sprinkler protection in the tank room/vault designed as specified in Table 12 over
the entire tank room/vault area.
A. Extend sprinkler protection to the physical limits of the area.
B. Use a wet, preaction, or deluge system.
C. A dry system is acceptable if the water is delivered to the most remote sprinkler within 30 seconds of
activation in a fire.
2.4.1.2 Install the sprinkler system in accordance with Data Sheet 2-0, Installation Guidelines for Automatic
Sprinklers.
2.4.1.3 Arrange sprinklers on a maximum 100 ft2 (9 m2) spacing.
2.4.1.4 Arrange sprinklers with a maximum on-line spacing of 10 ft (3 m). A variation of ±1 ft (0.3 m) is
permitted on either dimension to avoid obstructions by structural elements.
2.4.1.5 Do not use ordinary or light-hazard, extended-coverage sprinklers.
2.4.1.6 Provide standard response, ordinary temperature-rated, K5.6 (K81) or larger sprinklers below tanks
that are elevated and have greater than 3 ft (1 m) diameter or a plan area of 10 ft2 (0.9 m2). Alternatively,
encase all tank supports in 3-hour-fire-rated concrete.
2.4.1.7 Where pumps are present, extend a quick-response, ordinary temperature-rated, K5.6 (K81) or larger
sprinkler within 2 ft (0.6 m) vertically of the pumps.
2.4.1.8 Design automatic sprinkler systems as follows:
A. Hydraulically design automatic sprinkler systems in accordance with Table 12.
B. Design sprinklers located beneath tanks to provide at least 30 gpm (114 L/min) and maintain a minimum
sprinkler discharge pressure of 7 psi (0.5 bar).
C. Design sprinklers located over pumps to provide at least 20 gpm (76 L/min) and maintain a minimum
sprinkler discharge pressure of 7 psi (0.5 bar).
D. Balance all sprinklers installed in the area with the ceiling demand at the point of connection.

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Table 12. Sprinkler Density for Storage Tank Rooms

Page 28
7-88
Sprinkler
Response, K factor
Nominal gpm/psi0.5
Temperature (l/min/bar0.5)
Liquid Flash Maximum Rating, Density
Point, Drainage Ceiling Height Orientation gpm/ft2 Hose Streams Duration
°F (°C) Required Protection Goal ft (m) (Note 1, 2) (mm/min) Demand Area gpm (1/hr) min
< 200 (93) Yes Fire control 40 (12) Any ≥ 8.0 (115) 0.3 (12) Entire Room
Any
≥ 200 and < Yes Fire control 40 (12) Any ≥ 8.0 (115) 0.30 (12) Entire Room
©2007-2018 Factory Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

450 (93 - 232) Any 500 (1900) 60


Or No Fire 15 (4.6) Any ≥ 11.2 (161) 0.3 (12) Entire Room
≥ 450 (232) and extinguishment 30 (9.1) Any ≥ 11.2 (161) 0.4 (15)
heated above
40 (12) Any ≥ 11.2 (161) 0.7 (29)
150 (65)
45 (14) Any ≥ 11.2 (161) 0.8 (33)
≥ 450 (232) and No No pool fire unlimited Design sprinkler protection for the surrounding occupancy
not heated
above 150 (65)

Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks


Note 1. The use of any sprinkler response type, temperature rating, or orientation is acceptable because the entire tank room is included in the demand area.

FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets


Note 2. Use of K25 EC (360 EC) sprinklers are acceptable regardless of spacing.
Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 29

2.4.1.9 Space heat detectors for interior deluge systems (pilot sprinkler, electric, or pneumatic) as follows:
A. Install pilot sprinklers on the same spacing as sprinklers.
B. Install electric or pneumatic devices under smooth ceilings using the spacing requirements listed in
the Approval Guide for the particular model.
2.4.1.10 Space heat detectors for preaction systems (pilot sprinkler, electric, or pneumatic) as follows:
A. Install electric or pneumatic detectors at a spacing of one-half the listed linear detector spacing or the
full sprinkler spacing, whichever is greater. For design purposes, treat preaction systems with this detector
spacing the same as wet systems. If a preaction system has a detector spacing greater than the above
spacing, consider it a deluge system for design purposes. Refer to the Approval Guide for the maximum
allowable spacing.
B. Install pilot sprinklers on the same spacing as the sprinklers. For design purposes, treat preaction
sprinkler systems that use pilot sprinklers the same as dry systems, regardless of detector spacing.
2.4.1.11 Automatic sprinkler protection may be supplemented with one of the following FM Approved fixed
special protection systems to limit fire damage or as an alternative to an emergency drainage system:
A. Foam-water sprinkler system
B. Compressed air foam (CAF) system
C. Total flooding water mist system FM Approved for machinery in enclosures
D. Hybrid (water and inert gas) system FM Approved for machinery in enclosures
2.4.1.11.1 When a special protection system is provided to supplement a sprinkler/deluge system or as an
alternative to emergency drainage, use the design criteria listed in Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable Liquid
Operations, for the applicable system type.
2.4.1.12 Provide FM Approved portable extinguishers. Refer to Data Sheet 4-5, Portable Extinguishers, to
determine effective type, sizes, and locations for the extinguishers. Protect extinguishers located outside
against freezing.
2.4.1.13 Where small hose (1-1/2 in. [38 mm]) stations are provided, space them to allow full coverage of
the area being protected. Add a water demand of 50 gpm (190 L/min) to the combined sprinkler and hydrant
demand for a single hose station. Add a water demand of 100 gpm (380 L/min) when more than one hose
station is provided.

2.4.2 Outdoor Tanks


The basic protection for tank farms is hose streams along with adequate spacing and containment as specified
in Section 2.2.2. This will generally limit fire involvement to all tanks within a common dike or three large
tanks that are individually diked. For large tanks or tanks farms, manual fixed foam protection may be
appropriate (automatic foam is rarely justified).
Automatic water-spray protection is of value mainly for exposure protection of buildings where tanks are
located too close. An alternative protection method is fire-rated construction for the building.
2.4.2.1 Provide hydrants within 200 ft (60 m) of tanks so they can be reached by hose streams or monitor
nozzles from outside the dike.
2.4.2.2 Locate hydrants so every tank can be reached by hose or monitor streams from at least two directions.
2.4.2.3 Provide each hydrant with a minimum of two outlets controlled by individual valves.
2.4.2.4 Provide FM Approved combination straight stream/water spray nozzles for each hose. A straight
stream discharge can cool exposed tanks or facilities, while a high-velocity spray discharge can control or
extinguish fires in liquids with flash points above 200°F (93°C).
2.4.2.5 Provide foam monitor nozzles or foam hose streams for exterior protection and spills in the dikes
where there are tanks that contain stable liquids with flash points below or equal to 200°F (93°C) or unstable
liquids of any flash point.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 30 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

2.4.2.6 Provide fixed foam outlets and supply piping to a remote point outside the dike installed in accordance
with Data Sheet 4-7N, Low Expansion Foam Systems, on vertical cone-roof tanks storing stable or unstable
liquids with flash points below or equal to 200°F (93°C) when one or more of the following conditions exist:
A. The tank capacity exceeds 50,000 gal (190 m3) or there are multiple tanks in the same dike whose
aggregate capacity exceeds this value.
B. The tanks present a serious exposure to important buildings, process equipment, or utilities due to
inadequate spacing.
C. The tank-to-tank spacing and containment is deficient compared to the requirements of this standard.
D. The tank contents are of considerable value or are essential for continued operations and are not readily
replaceable. The contents can be readily salvageable after foam contamination.
E. Other unfavorable situations that cannot be corrected.
2.4.2.7 Where spacing between tanks and nearby buildings is inadequate (not in accordance with Section
2.2.2) provide one of the following:
A. Provide building construction in accordance with Data Sheet 1-20, Protection Against Exterior Fire
Exposure, using guidelines for yard storage and consider the tanks as high-hazard occupancy.
B. Provide deluge water spray (installed in accordance with Data Sheet 4-1N, Fixed Water Spray Systems
for Fire Protection ) on the exposed wall at a rate of 0.3 gpm/ft2 (12 mm/min) of exposed wall using the
criteria in DS 1-20 to determine the extent of the exposed wall. Include water supply duration for 2 hours
and at least 500 gpm (1,900 L/min) for hose streams.
2.4.2.8 Where spacing between adjacent tanks is inadequate (not in accordance with Section 2.2.2), provide
deluge water spray (installed in accordance with DS 4-1N) on all exposed tanks at a rate of 0.3 gpm/ft2 (12
mm/min) of tank surface. Include water supply duration for 2 hours and at least 500 gpm (1,900 L/min) for
hose streams.
2.4.2.9 Where spacing to rail or truck load/unload stations is inadequate (i.e., not in accordance with Section
2.2.2) provide deluge water spray (installed in accordance with DS 4-1N) for the load/unload station (vehicle
and pumps) at a rate of 0.3 gpm/ft2 (12 mm/min) of tank surface. Include water supply duration for 2 hours
and at least 500 gpm (1,900 L/min) for hose streams.
2.4.2.10 Water Supply
Calculate the water demand for outdoor tank farms as the sum of the following:
A. The hose stream demand for tanks storing all classes of liquids as determined from Table 13 and
supplied at a minimum pressure of 50 psi (3.4 bar).
B. Water required for fixed foam equipment, when provided, supplied at minimum Approved pressure.
For purposes of estimation, see Table 14.
C. Water supply for a minimum of 4 hr for liquids with a flash points below 140°F (60°C), and 2 hour for
liquids with a flash points at or above 140°F (60°C).

1
Table 13. Hose Stream Demand for Tanks Storing Ignitable Liquids
Largest Tank Involved in Fire Largest Exposed Tank
Flash point of liquid gpm L/min gpm L/min

2 2
< 140°F (60°C) 10002 3,800 5002 1,900
≥ 140°F (60°C) 750 2,800 250 950
1
Required flows may be reduced by half for horizontal tanks.
2
Add 250 gpm (950 L/min) for each 100 ft (30 m) increase in tank diameter above 100 ft (30 m).

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 31

Table 14. Estimated Water Demand for Fixed Foam Protection for a Full Surface Fire
Tank Diameter Water Demand
ft m gpm L/min
50 15 200 750
100 30 800 3,000
150 45 2,000 7,500
200 60 3,200 12,100
250 75 5,000 19,000
300 90 7,100 27,000

2.5 Operation and Maintenance


2.5.1. Implement a formal mechanical integrity program, as described in Data Sheet 7-43, Process Safety,
for all ignitable-liquid storage tanks.
2.5.2 Conduct monthly visual inspections of aboveground and indoor tanks for the following (where
applicable):
A. Leaks, corrosion, sinking
B. Condition of attached piping, piping supports, gauging, level control systems, alarms, emergency and
breather vents, instrumentation, grounding, ladders, access-ways
C. General housekeeping, water accumulation, and vegetation in dikes
D. The physical condition of berms/dikes/containment
E. Clear and operable drainage systems along with accessibility of any applicable valves
F. Operation of inerting systems
2.5.3 Conduct annual recorded inspections of tank vents, vent pipes, screens, and flame arresters, and keep
them free from obstructions (e.g., stones, dirt, insect nests, polymerized material, etc.) that could prevent
proper operation and possibly overpressurization of the tank.
2.5.4 Conduct recorded inspections of detonation arresters in manifolded piping systems for damage and
accumulations of debris caused by polymerization, condensation, corrosion, etc., which could impair
operability. Replace damaged units (or repair if the damage does not affect their functionality) and remove
accumulations.
2.5.4.1 Conduct inspections at least quarterly during the first year and as experience dictates thereafter,
but at least annually (where practical).
2.5.4.2 Conduct inspections at least quarterly where powders are added to the system. (Arresters in this
service are particularly susceptible to accumulations and may be inappropriate for use.)
2.5.5 Conduct annual recorded inspections of the performance of cathodic protection (CP) systems by
qualified persons for the attainment of satisfactory CP criteria, proper functioning of equipment and that the
level of CP applied is properly controlling corrosion. Criteria for determining the effectiveness of CP include
NACE RP-0169, NACE RP-0285, and API 651.
2.5.6 Repair, Reconditioning, and Abandonment
Prior to working on any tank that has contained flammable liquids, take the following precautions as
appropriate:
2.5.6.1 Drain all liquids from the tank, including residues. Disconnect fill and discharge pipes and install blind
flanges.
2.5.6.2 Purge ignitable liquid tanks with steam or warm air before repairs are made or before the tanks are
reused. Route displaced flammable vapor to a safe location. Avoid excessive pressure or vacuum. (See Data
Sheet 7-59, Inerting and Purging of Equipment)
2.5.6.3 Use an FM Approved combustible gas detector to determine whether vapor has been eliminated.
Make additional tests at frequent intervals. Suspend work if flammable gas is detected.

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2.5.6.4 Remove all remaining scale and sludge with nonferrous scrapers.
2.5.6.5 Use a hot work permit system to control hot work operations on or near a tank (see Data Sheet 10-3,
Hot Work Management). Do not conduct hot work on tanks that are still in service or have not been propertly
drained, cleaned, and confirmed to be free of flammable vapor.
2.5.6.6 Fill the tank with an inert gas, such as carbon dioxide, or maintain positive continuous air movement
through the tank if cutting or welding torches are used on the outside of the tank. Do not cut or weld on rubber
lined tanks (rubber lined tanks are typically marked as such on the tank exterior).
2.5.6.7 Remove, repair, or recondition underground ignitable liquid tanks that are no longer of any use. Prior
to removal, inert the tank. If removal of the tank is not possible, it may be left in place after doing the following:
A. Remove all of the liquid from the tank.
B. Purge the tank of flammable vapor.
C. Remove all suction, inlet, gauge, and vent lines.
D. Fill the tank with a solid inert material (e.g., sand, diatomaceous earth, perlite, etc.).
E. Cap all remaining underground piping.
F. Rebury the tank and fittings.

2.6 Training
2.6.1 Train operators in the hazards of the process, and develop safe standard operating procedures in
accordance with Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations.

2.7 Human Factor


2.7.1 Establish emergency response plans in accordance with Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations.
Familiarize the facility’s emergency response team (ERT) members and the local fire service with the location
of ignitable liquid tanks, as well as the emergency response plan. Use emergency response drills to reinforce
the employee training programs (including ERT) and assist the fire service in pre-fire planning.

2.8 Ignition Source Control


2.8.1 Provide FM Approved hazardous location-rated electrical equipment in accordance with Data Sheet
5-1, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous (Classified) Locations, near storage tanks containing liquids with flash
points at or below 100°F (38°C), or any ignitable liquid with higher flash points heated above its flash point
(including possible ambient temperatures), as follows:
A. Provide electrical equipment suitable for Class I, Division 1 or Zone 1 hazardous locations when located
within 3 ft (1 m) of exterior vents.
B. Provide electrical equipment suitable for Class I, Division 2 or Zone 2 hazardous locations when located
between 3 and 5 ft (1 to 1.5 m) of exterior vents.
C. Provide electrical equipment suitable for Class I, Division 2 or Zone 2 hazardous locations when located
within 10 ft (3 m) of any other tank openings or when located within a diked area.
D. Provide electrical equipment suitable for Class I, Division 1 or Zone 1 hazardous locations when tanks
are located in a room or vault.
E. Refer to Data Sheet 5-1, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous (Classified) Locations, for additional
information regarding electrical installations.
Note: Consider any electrical equipment, including portable, low-voltage, battery-operated devices (e.g.,
mobile phones) as potential ignition sources in Class I or comparable hazardous locations unless specifically
tested and FM Approved or listed for such use.
2.8.2 Provide static grounding connections on tanks that are out of contact with the earth if piping is
ungrounded or nonconductive. (Ordinarily, special electrical grounding connections will not be needed.
Adequate grounding for a tank is provided by its own contact or the contact of its connected piping with the
earth.) See Data Sheet 5-8, Static Electricity.

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2.8.3 Electrically bond all tank plates, internal structural members, fittings, and isolated metal parts or pipe
sections on tanks containing liquids with flash points at or below 100°F (38°C) or any ignitable liquid heated
above its flash point (by environment or process conditions) to reduce the danger of internal sparks from
lightning or charged liquid. (See Data Sheet 5-8, Static Electricity, for further information on grounding and
bonding.)
2.8.4 Where applicable, provide FM Approved bonding and grounding assemblies.
2.8.5 Prohibit the discharge of liquids with flash points at or below 100°F (38°C), or any ignitable liquid heated
above its flash point, above the liquid level in the tank (usually called ″splash filling″) as it creates the
possibility of static buildup and spark discharge to grounded components.
2.8.6 Avoid hot work, maintenance, repair, or modification in or near (see Table 15) tanks, pumps, and other
ignitable liquid handling equipment, tank truck or railcar loading and unloading, or fume-collection systems
where flammable vapor could be present until the tank or system is isolated, drained, and purged or blanketed
with an inert gas. Use a hot work permit system to control the progress of such work. (See Data Sheet 10-3,
Hot Work Management.)
2.8.7 Prohibit smoking or open flames in or near tanks, pumps, and other ignitable liquid handling equipment,
tank truck or railcar loading and unloading, or fume-collection systems where flammable vapor could be
present (see Table 15). Provide designated safe areas for such activity.

Table 15. Safety Distances for Hot Work, Open Flames, Maintenance, Repair or Modification
Safety distances for hot work, open flames, maintenance, repair or modification1, ft (m)
Flash point ≤ 100°F (38°C) or heated to within > 100°F (38°C)
25°F (14°C) of their flash point
Tanks outdoors 50 (15) 35 (10)
Within dikes or tank rooms Not allowed
Truck or railcar loading/unloading 75 (22.5) 35 (10)
Pumps or other handling equipment 75 (22.5) 35 (10)
1
allowed after hot work permit process is completed

3.0 SUPPORT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

3.1 Background information


Tanks containing gasoline, alcohol, benzene, and other ignitable liquids have been involved in serious fires.
The contents of a large tank can cause extensive damage if released during a fire. The design and
construction of such tanks needs to ensure a high degree of confinement and reliability.

3.1.1 Hazards
Ignitable liquids are classified by various US and international regulatory bodies for the purposes of packaging,
transportation, and handling. The various definitions can make the application of storage standards across
a broad spectrum difficult. For the most part, this document limits differentiation by using a breakpoint of 140°F
(60°C) for spacing criteria and 200°F (93°C) for protection.
Crude oil (not addressed in this standard) and other liquids containing components with a wide range of
boiling points, and some free water, present the additional hazards of boil-over, slop-over, or froth-over.
Boil-over is a phenomenon that may occur spontaneously during a fire in an open-top tank of crude oil that
has been burning for an extended period of time. In time, a sudden expansion of a steam-oil froth beneath
the liquid surface can occur, resulting in a sudden explosion of hot residual oil from the tank. In general ,four
conditions have to exist for a boil-over to occur:
1. The tank must contain free water or a water-oil emulsion near the tank bottom. This is a normal condition
in crude-oil storage tanks as well as in some tanks storing heavier, residual oils.
2. The tank must be open-top. Experience indicates that fire in an open-top tank will result if an explosion
blows the roof off or if the pan or deck in a floating-roof tank sinks.

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3. The oil must be capable of forming a heat wave of 300°F (145°C) or more. The heat wave is created
when lighter components in the liquid (e.g., pentane, hexane, etc.) distill off and burn at the liquid surface
leaving a residue of higher density than the liquid just below it. This residue has a temperature in excess of
300°F (145°C) and, if it sinks at a rate substantially faster than the rate of regression of the liquid surface,
the heat wave is formed. The heat wave is created by convection (within the stored liquid) not conduction.
4. The oil must contain sufficient heavy ends to produce a persistent froth of oil and steam.
The boil-over tendencies of the oil can be evaluated by small-scale tests. While all crude oils are not
susceptible to boil over, successive storages may exhibit boil-over potential. Thus, always design, install,
and protect tanks storing crude oil recognizing the possibility of boil over.
Other liquids can exhibit slop-over or froth-over tendencies. Slop over occurs when a water stream is applied
to the surface of a burning viscous oil. The resultant frothing and ejection of liquid is generally much less
severe than a boil over because only the surface of the liquid is involved. It could present a hazard to fire
fighters. Froth over occurs when a hot viscous liquid, such as asphalt or oil, floats on a water layer in a tank.
In time, the water is superheated and erupts, ejecting liquid from the tank. Unlike boil over or slop over, there
is no fire. Froth-overs have occurred with sufficient violence to blow off tank roofs and spread the tank
contents over a large area.

3.1.2 Types of Tanks

3.1.2.1 Atmospheric Tanks


Atmospheric tanks are used to store large quantities of liquids at pressures ranging from atmospheric to
1.0 psig (7 kPa). The following are the principal types of atmospheric tanks:
Cone roof tanks are the most widely used for ignitable liquid storage. They are usually welded and may
have either weak roof or weak shell-to-roof seams designed to fail preferentially to the tank shell in the event
of a fire or internal explosion. Their major disadvantage is the vapor loss caused by breathing (the normal
expansion and contraction of the tank contents with atmospheric changes). The normal operating range of the
tank is ±11⁄2 in. of water (± 370 Pa).
Floating roof tanks are constructed with a roof floating on the liquid surface. The roof may be of double-deck
or pontoon-type construction (Figures 10 and 11). By eliminating the vapor space, breathing losses become
negligible, and the fire and explosion hazard is greatly reduced. The seal provided between the roof edge
and the tank wall allows the roof to move freely within the shell. Drainage facilities are provided to prevent the
accumulation of water on the roof surface.
Covered floating roof tanks are similar in construction to cone roof tanks, except for a metal pan (or,
occasionally, a double or pontoon internal roof) that floats on the liquid surface (Figure 12). Since the floating
cover is protected from the weather, no provision for drainage or for rain or snow loading is required. Vents
are provided around the periphery of the tank.
Lifter or expansion roof tanks resemble cone roof tanks, except the entire roof assembly has limited freedom
to move up and down within the shell. A vapor-tight liquid seal, which maintains a slight pressure on the
contents of the tank, provides a seal between the roof assembly and the shell. The moving roof minimizes
normal breathing losses. An expansion roof tank is occasionally used with a group of fixed roof tanks to take
up their composite vapor change.
Breather roof tanks are used where the liquid storage is not frequently disturbed. The horizontal flexible
diaphragm, or roof, is attached to the top edge of the tank shell and maintains a variable vapor space by
moving up and down. The roof, by confining the vapor, exerts a slight pressure upon the liquid, reducing
evaporation losses.
Vapordome tanks employ a dome containing a plastic diaphragm, which is free to move with the expansion
of vapor in the tank. This is an effective method of reducing vapor loss from the top of the tank.
Cylindrical tanks are used for small quantities of liquids. Heads may be dished or flat. The long axis may
be either horizontal or vertical and the tank buried or aboveground.

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Fig. 10. Open top double deck

Fig. 11. Open top pontoon

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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Fig. 12. Pan-type covered tanks

3.1.2.2 Low-Pressure Tanks


Low-pressure tanks have a maximum working pressure of 15 psi (1 bar). They are used to store volatile
liquids, such as those with flash points below 73°F (23°C) and boiling points below 100°F (38°C), under their
own vapor pressure. Such tanks may be spheres, spheroids, or cylinders. In general, the requirements
applicable to atmospheric storage tanks apply to low-pressure storage tanks, with some modifications in
construction, venting, and spacing.

3.1.3 Indoor Tanks


Putting large quantities of a flammable liquid inside an important building is not recommended. Tank storage
of flammable liquids creates the potential for many fire scenarios, including overflow during filling, over-
pressurization when exposed to fire, leak in a discharge line, or tank failure (a very low likelihood event, but
one that has the potential for significant consequences).
The main goals of the recommendations are to isolate the ignitable liquid tank from other occupancies, provide
adequate protection for most fire scenarios and to ensure adequate access to the tank room for firefighters.
Since all of the fire scenarios in a tank room involve a liquid release, adequate isolation must include
provisions for containment and emergency drainage.
In cases where tanks are not only inside a building, but are also located either below or above grade,
additional safeguards are needed. Access to these tanks for manual firefighting will be very limited. The overall
severity of a liquid release and fire involving the tank will be entirely dependent on what was provided for
active and passive protection around the tank. In buildings where the potential loss is significant, there is a
need to ensure any potential ignitable liquid release/fire is contained to the tank room. The only reliable way
to accomplish this is through the use of a 3-hour fire rated vault with only limited openings for fresh air. This
combination will limit the fire severity and help ensure survival of the room regardless of the size of the liquid
release.
The design goal for pumping and transfer systems is to ensure the liquid stays in the piping system and
can be shut down when necessary (e.g., leak or fire). The best way to accomplish this is to use welded steel
piping, positive displacement pumps and safety shut-off valves. There will always be several potential
leakage sources in this type of system that can produce a liquid release and fire. The most likely source of
leakage is the pump. Pump rooms must be isolated from other occupancies. Since the pumping system
creates similar hazards as the storage tank, it may be cost effective to locate the pumps in the tank room/vault.
A small fire at the pump can grow because the initial fire will produce additional failures. Sprinklers that are
extended from the ceiling to within 2 ft (0.6 m) of the fuel pumps can help to prevent those additional failures.
A second potential leakage source is flanged or threaded pipe joints/unions. Welded piping systems require
the use of flanged joints to permit equipment maintenance and repair. Leaks at flanged joints can be caused
by poor maintenance or fire exposure to a gasket that can melt. Threaded joints are inherently weaker

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because the pipe wall thickness has been reduced. Locate flanged or threaded joints/unions in rooms that
are properly isolated and protected for an ignitable liquid fire exposure.

3.1.4 Tank Spacing and Containment


Tank spacing criteria were developed by comparison with existing standards and by analysis of pool fire
simulations for various ignitable liquids assuming a 20 mph (32 kph) wind during the event. The final simplified
criteria were based primarily on heat flux predictions rather than existing standards.

3.1.5 Manifolded Vents


Environmental regulations have increased the use of emission control systems on tanks. The emission control
systems can include carbon bed adsorbers, scrubbers, condensers, incinerators, etc. (Figure 7). In some
cases, the system could be handling vapor within the flammable range. An ignition at one point in the system
could cause a flame front to propagate throughout with damaging results. The ignition source could be static,
lightning, an incinerator flame, etc. Proper design of the system can prevent such a situation.
Flame propagation is not possible in the manifold piping and connected vessels if the vapor-air mixture is
out of the flammable range. This is most often achieved by an inert gas system to decrease the oxygen to
an acceptable level. To accept such a system in lieu of arresters, it must be reliable. The criteria in Data Sheet
7-59, Inerting and Purging of Tanks, Process Vessels, and Equipment, will provide this reliability as long
as open manway operations do not occur.
The propagation velocity in a piping system containing a flammable mixture depends on the inherent
turbulence in the system caused by flow, bends, valves, and fittings as well as the turbulence of the
combustion process itself. It has been recognized that a deflagration flame front can transit to detonation
velocities with significant increase in the pressures within the piping and the potential for failure of the piping.
Transition to detonation in pipe lengths of 50 to100 diameters are typically reported. Flame-arresting devices
that successfully stop the deflagration fail to stop the detonation or even a ″fast″ deflagration. Detonation
arresters (Figure 13) can stop detonation fronts, and test procedures are available to Approve/list these
devices. Detonation arresters are rated for a specific gas or class of gases. Some classifications are based
on National Electrical Code groupings (A, B, C, D), while others are based on minimum experimental safe
gap (MESG) required to quench a flame.

Fig. 13. Detonation arrester

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Detonation arresters are normally bidirectional; that is, they will stop a detonation front approaching from
either direction. Since it is not possible to ensure the direction of flame approach, use of unidirectional
arresters usually is not appropriate.
Testing has demonstrated that a detonation arrester is likely to fail if installed in piping whose diameter
increases within a distance of 120 pipe diameters from the detonation arrester in either direction.

Fig. 14. Storage tank with flame arrester

Fig. 15. End-of-line flame arrester

This data sheet, NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, and other standards specify the
requirements for installation of flame arresters on tanks. Although some FM Approved flame arresters are
equipped with flanges at both ends for short pipe-aways (Figs. 14 and 16) of the released vapors, they cannot
be used in extended piping systems. The testing organization’s listing will detail limits between the open
pipe end (to atmosphere) and the arrester. They are based on the test conditions, and additional length could
permit a deflagration flame front to increase velocity, even up to a detonation front, and result in failure of
the device to stop the flame.
Conservation vents are installed on many low pressure tanks to minimize the release of vapors during tank
idle times while permitting release of pressure or vacuum created during filling or emptying. This data sheet,
NFPA 30, and other codes accept these devices in lieu of flame arresters where vented directly to atmosphere.
The pressure setting (typically 3⁄4 in. water gauge [190 Pa]) and the device design create local velocities
in excess of the propagation velocity of ordinary combustion flames, thus preventing flashback into the tank.
These velocities and the general construction are insufficient for stopping detonation propagation. These
are not acceptable alternatives to detonation arresters in manifolded piping systems.

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Fig. 16. End-of-line flame arrester with pipe-away flange

Fig. 17. Backflash interrupter

Using rupture disks on elbows, or direction changes in the piping system, to provide explosion venting is
not considered effective in halting the progress of a flame front. Venting the piping in this manner will at least
temporarily relieve the pressure but may not stop the flame front, which could continue on to interconnected
vessels. The flame front will continue down the pipe and, if it is not vented at regular intervals (50 to 100
diameters), it could transit to detonation velocity. Other methods of explosion isolation are available. These
include fast-acting valves, rapid discharge extinguishing (blocking) systems and flame-front diverters or
backflash interrupters (Figure 17). None of these devices presently are FM Approved and therefore are not
discussed in detail. There is limited information available on installation criteria and applicability limits. All
are designed to interrupt deflagrations, not detonations.

3.1.6 Asphalt Tanks


Loss history shows a disproportionate number of events involving tanks containing asphalt. Factors in these
events include:
A. Tanks often operate at temperatures near the flash point.

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B. Material can condense on tank roof surfaces, overloading the roof.


C. Condensed material can be pyrophoric, iron sulfides, or carbonaceous.
D. Water can accumulate on the bottom and froth over on addition of hot materials.
E. Operating procedures are not always followed.

3.1.7 Fire Protection


The severity of ignitable liquid tank fires requires that fire protection be provided. Normally, only hydrant
protection is required. Fixed or portable foam-making equipment or water spray systems may be required
to control fires where the quantities of liquids stored or tank sizes are unusually large. Special precautions
are required for the storage of crude oil and other liquids subject to boil over. Storage tank fires involving
liquids with flash points of 100°F (38°C) or lower are difficult to control and extinguish and frequently burn
for days.
Do not consider provision of fixed foam or water spray systems as a substitute for adequate spacing of tanks
from important plant facilities.
Fixed foam systems have been effective in extinguishing fires in cone roof tanks, but have sometimes failed
for the following reasons:
A. Fires in tanks storing liquids with flash points of 100°F (38°C) or lower have originated with an explosion
in the vapor space of the tank, damaging one or more foam distribution devices.
B. The roof support members have fallen into the liquid, preventing formation of a uniform foam blanket
over the liquid surface.
Even under these adverse circumstances, fixed foam systems may provide partial control until manual
firefighting can be organized. Subsurface application could improve the operating experience of fixed foam
extinguishing systems for fires in cone roof tanks. Some standards consider subsurface foam a requirement
for successfully extinguishing fires in tanks exceeding 200 ft (60 m) in diameter.
Floating roof tanks are less susceptible to serious fire loss than cone roof tanks. Seal fires in floating roof
tanks can be readily extinguished with either portable extinguishing equipment or fixed foam extinguishing
systems, depending upon the size of the tank.

4.0 REFERENCES

4.1 FM Global
Data Sheet 1-11, Fire Following Earthquakes
Data Sheet 1-20, Protection Against Exterior Fire Exposure
Data Sheet 1-21, Fire Resistance of Building Assemblies
Data Sheet 1-57, Plastics in Construction
Data Sheet 2-0, Installation Guidelines for Automatic Sprinklers
Data Sheet 4-0, Special Protection Systems
Data Sheet 4-1N, Fixed Water Spray Systems for Fire Protection
Data Sheet 4-2, Water Mist Systems
Data Sheet 4-5, Portable Extinguishers
Data Sheet 4-7N, Low Expansion Foam Systems
Data Sheet 4-12, Foam-Water Sprinkler Systems
Data Sheet 5-1, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous (Classified) Locations
Data Sheet 5-8, Static Electricity
Data Sheet 6-10, Process Furnaces
Data Sheet 7-14, Fire Protection for Chemical Plants
Data Sheet 7-29, Ignitable Liquid Storage in Portable Containers
Data Sheet 7-30, Solvent Extraction Plants
Data Sheet 7-32, Ignitable Liquid Operations
Data Sheet 7-43/17-2, Process Safety
Data Sheet 7-49, Emergency Venting of Vessels
Data Sheet 7-51, Acetylene
Data Sheet 7-55, Liquefied Petroleum Gas

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
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Data Sheet 7-59, Inerting and Purging of Tanks, Process Vessels, and Equipment
Data Sheet 7-78, Industrial Exhaust Systems
Data Sheet 7-83, Drainage and Contaiment Systems for Ignitable Liquids
Data Sheet 10-3, Hot Work Management

4.2 Others
American Petroleum Institute (API). API 12P, Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Tanks.
American Petroleum Institute, API 620, Design and Construction of Large, Welded, Low-Pressure Storage
Tanks, Tenth Edition, 2002.
American Petroleum Institute, API 650, Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage, Tenth Edition, 1998.
American Petroleum Institute (API). ANSI/API 651, Cathodic Protection of Aboveground Petroleum Storage
Tanks, Second edition, 1997.
American Petroleum Institute (API). API 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction.
American Petroleum Institute, API 2000, Venting Atmospheric and Low Pressure Storage Tanks, Fifth edition,
1998.
American Petroleum Institute (API). API Recommended Practice 2016, Guidelines and Procedures for
Entering and Cleaning Petroleum Storage Tanks.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Boiler and Pressure Code, Section VIII, Unfired Pressure
Vessels, latest edition.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), B31.3, Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping,
latest edition.
ASTM International (ASTM). ASTM D3299, Standard Specification for Filament Wound Glass Fiber
Reinforced Thermoset Resin Chemical Resistant Tanks.
ASTM International (ASTM). ASTM D4097, Standard Specification for Contact Molded Glass Fiber Reinforced
Thermoset Resin Chemical Resistant Tanks.
ASTM International, ASTM D4206, Standard Test Method for Sustained Burning of Liquid Mixtures Using
the Small Scale Open-Cup Apparatus, 2001.
ASTM International (ASTM). ASTM E 119, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction
and Materials.
European Committee for Standardization. EN 12285, Part 1, Workshop Fabricated Steel Tanks - Horizontal
Cylindrical Single and Double Skin Tanks for Underground Storage of Flammable and Non-Flammable Water
Polluting Liquids.
European Committee for Standardization. EN 12285, Part 2, Workshop Fabricated Steel Tanks - Horizontal
Cylindrical Single and Double Skin Tanks for Aboveground Storage of Flammable and Non-Flammable Water
Polluting Liquids.
European Committee for Standardization. EN 13121, GRP Tanks and Vessels for Use Aboveground.
European Committee for Standardization. EN 14015, Specification for Design and Manufacture of Site Built,
Vertical, Cylindrical, Flat-Bottomed, Aboveground, Welded, Steel Tanks for the Storage OF Liquids at Ambient
Temperatures and Above.
European Committee for Standardization. S.I. No. 116/2003, European Communities (Classification,
Packaging, Labeling and Notification of Dangerous Substances) Regulations.
International Standards Organization, ISO 2592, Determination of flash and fire points — Cleveland open
cup method, 2000.
National Association of Corrosion Engineers, NACE RP-0169, Control of External Corrosion on Underground
or Submerged Metallic Piping Systems.
National Association of Corrosion Engineers, NACE RP-0285, Corrosion Control of Underground Storage
Tanks System by Cathodic Protection.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
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National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). NFPA 11, Standard for Low, Medium and High Expansion Foam
(2005).
National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (2003).
National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). NFPA 70, National Electric Code.
National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). NFPA 704, Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards
of Materials for Emergency Response
Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL 58, Standard for Steel Underground Tanks for Flammable and
Combustible Liquids.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL 142, Standard for Steel Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and
Combustible Liquids.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL 1316, Standard for Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic Underground Storage
Tanks.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL 2080, Fire Resistant Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL 2085, Protected Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible
Liquids.
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 33 CFR, Part 154, Appendix A, Guidelines for Detonation Flame Arresters.
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR, Chapter I, Subchapter C, Parts 171 – 180 Department of
Transportation, Hazardous Materials Regulations.
World Bank, Manual of Industrial Hazard Assessment Techniques, 1985.

APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF TERMS


Conservation Vents: These devices have both vacuum and pressure relief capacity. Vents usually open
when the positive or neg ative pressure in the tank reaches 3⁄4 to 1 in. water column (185 to 250 Pa). They
are normally closed and vent pipes equipped with conservation vents do not need flame arresters. The
velocity through the openings is normally sufficient to prevent flashback. A typical conservation vent is shown
in Figure 18.
FM Approved: References to ″FM Approved″ in this data sheet mean the product or service has satisfied
the criteria for FM Approval. Refer to the Approval Guide, an online resource of FM Approvals, for a complete
listing of products and services that are FM Approved.
Ignitable Liquid: Any liquid or liquid mixture that is capable of fueling a fire, including flammable liquids,
combustible liquids, inflammable liquids, or any other term for a liquid that will burn. An ignitable liquid is a
liquid that has a fire point.
Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC): Any container that has a volumetric capacity of not more than 793
gallons (3,000 L) and not less than 119 gallons (450 L) as defined and regulated by the U.S. Department
of Transportation in CFR Title 49, Part 178, subpart N, and the United Nations Recommendations on the
Transport of Dangerous Goods, chapter 6.5.
IBCs can be constructed of metal, plastic or a metal-plastic composite. In the UN and US DOT regulations,
metal IBCs are designated 31A, 31B, and 31N (for liquids, and the letter code is for steel, aluminum, and
other metals, respectively.), rigid plastic are designated by the codes 31H1, 31H2, and composite are 31HZ1,
31HZ2.
Listed: Equipment or materials included in a list published by an organization that maintains periodic
inspection of production of listed equipment or materials and whose listing states that either the equipment
or material meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified
purpose.
Roof, external floating: A roof that sits directly on the liquid surface, usually on pontoons with a seal attached
to the roof perimeter to cover the annular space between the roof and the shell. Design criteria are in API
650, Appendix C. This type has inherent buoyancy and are difficult, though not impossible, to sink.
Roof, internal floating: A roof similar to the external floater but with a fixed roof above, intended for weather
protection or quality assurance. The internal floater is often a simple pan or plastic membrane floating directly

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 43

Fig. 18. Typical conservation vent

on the liquid surface with little or no inherent buoyancy and is subject to sinking. Design criteria are in API
650, Appendix H. Pontoon type roofs similar or identical to external floaters are possible but not common.
Unless the internal floater has the inherent buoyancy of a pontoon type, treat the tank as a cone roof tank.
Stable liquid: Any liquid not defined as unstable.
Tank, aboveground: A tank that is installed above grade, at grade, or below grade without backfill.
Tank, atmospheric: A storage tank that has been designed to operate at pressures from atmospheric through
a gauge pressure of 1 psig (0.07 bar) measured at the top of the tank.
Tank, double-skinned: A term used in European Union (EN) standards for secondary containment tanks.
Tank, floating roof: An atmospheric tank intended for storage of high vapor pressure liquids such as crude
oil and gasoline with vapor pressure exceeding 15 psig (1 barg) with a roof floating on the liquid surface.
(Floating roof tanks are not covered by this standard.) Design in accordance with the criteria in API 650,
Appendix C or H, or other recognized equivalent standard.
Tank, low-pressure: A storage tank designed to withstand an internal pressure of more than 1 psig (0.07
barg) but not more than 15 psig (1 barg) measured at the top of the tank.
Tank, portable: Any closed vessel having a liquid capacity over 60 gal (230 L) and not intended for fixed
installation. This includes intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) as defined and regulated by the U.S.
Department of Transportation in CFR Title 49, Part 178, subpart N, and the United Nations Recommendations
on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, chapter 6.5.
Tank, protected aboveground: An aboveground storage tank that is listed in accordance with UL 2085,
Standard for Protected Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, or an equivalent test
procedure that consists of a primary tank provided with protection from physical damage and fire-resistive
protection from exposure to a high-intensity liquid pool fire.
Tank, secondary containment: A tank that has an inner and outer wall with an interstitial space (annulus)
between the walls and that has a means for monitoring the interstitial space for a leak.

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7-88 Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks
Page 44 FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Tank, storage: Any vessel having a liquid capacity that exceeds 60 gal (230 L), is intended for fixed
installation, and is not used for processing.
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations directed
at providing safe packaging criteria but only related to the transport of all types of dangerous solids, liquids,
and gases. Hazard class 3 addresses ignitable liquids.
Unstable liquid: A liquid that, in the pure state or as commercially produced or transported, will vigorously
polymerize, decompose, undergo condensation reaction, or become self-reactive under conditions of shock,
pressure, or temperature. A liquid with an NFPA instability hazard rating of 2 or greater in accordance with
NFPA 704, Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response.
Vent, normal: Pressure relief opening on a tank to permit the intake and discharge of air during emptying
and filling operations and to permit expansion and contraction of vapor due to temperature changes.
Sometimes called breather vent.
Vent, emergency relief: Pressure relief opening on a tank to prevent overpressurizing the tank in the event
of fire exposure.
Wall, combustible: A wall made of any combustible material, including overhanging wood eaves, any metal
faced plastic insulated sandwich panels that are not FM Approved, and any wall with single pane, annealed
(not tempered) glass windows. Increase separation by 25% for asphalt-coated metal walls.
Wall, noncombustible: Materials include FM Approved Class 1 insulated, steel, or aluminum faced sandwich
panels with thermoset plastic insulation; EIFS assemblies having noncombustible insulation and gypsum
board sheathing, and aluminum or steel panels that are uninsulated or insulated with noncombustible
insulation such as glass fiber, mineral wool, or expanded glass. It also includes cementitious panels or
shingles over steel or wood. There can be no overhanging wood eaves. Any windows should be multi-pane
or tempered glass.
Wall, fire-rated: The wall should meet the required fire rating per FM Global Loss Prevention Data Sheet
1-21, Fire Resistance of Building Assemblies. Any openings should be protected with a comparably fire-rated
door. Any windows should be fire rated to match the rating of the wall.
Weak seam roof (weak shell-to-roof joint construction): The attachment of the roof to the shell forms a
frangible joint that, in the case of excessive internal pressure, will rupture before rupture occurs in the tank
shell joints or the shell-to-bottom joint. Design criteria can be found in UL 142 or API 650.

APPENDIX B DOCUMENT REVISION HISTORY


April 2018. Interim revision. Lowered the flash point threshold of very hight flashpoint liquids from 500°F
(260°C) to 450°F (232°C) to be consistent with other ignitable liquid data sheets.
January 2018. Interim revision. Clarification was made to Table 4 to be consistent with DataSheet 1-22,
Maximum Foreseeable Loss
October 2015. Major revisions were focused on the arrangement and protection of indoor tanks, although
other aspects of the data sheet were also modified. The following major changes have been made:
A. Changed the name of the data sheet from ″Flammable Liquid Storage Tanks″ to ″Ignitable Liquid
Storage Tanks.″
B. Reorganized the document where necessary to provide a format that is consistent with other data
sheets.
C. Replaced references to ″flammable″ and ″combustible″ liquid with ″ignitable” liquid throughout the
document.
D. Added recommendations for the storage of liquids with closed-cup flash points at or above 500°F
(260°C) and several other atypical liquids.
E. Added recommendations related to the protection of structural steel.
F. Clarified recommendations for containment and emergency drainage for indoor tanks.
G. Clarified recommendations relative to the use of secondary containment (i.e., double-walled) tanks,
including a revised capacity limit (12,000 gal [45 m3] increased to 30,000 gal [113 m3]).

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Ignitable Liquid Storage Tanks 7-88
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets Page 45

H. Revised the guidance for protection against flooding for consistency with Data Sheet 1-40, Flood.
I. Modified automatic sprinkler and special protection recommendations for indoor tanks.
J. Added recommendations related to training and human element.
K. Removed indoor tank liquid quantity limitations, provided the tank and supporting systems are
adequately designed and protected in accordance with this data sheet.
October 2014. Interim revision. Minor editorial changes were made.
October 2011. The reference in Table 10, note 1 was corrected from 2.2.2-5 to 2.1.2-5.
September 2010. Changes were made in Table 3, Spacing for Flammable Liquid Tank Containment Dikes.
March 2009. Minimum spacing requirements in Table 2, Spacing for Flammable Liquid Storage Tanks and
Loading/Unloading Stations, and in Table 3, Spacing for Flammable Liquid Tank Containment Dikes, were
modified.
May 2008. Minor editorial changes were made for this revision.
January 2008. Minor editorial changes were made for this revision.
May 2007. Corrections were made to Table 2.
April 2007. Minor editorial changes were made to January 2007 version.
January 2007. The following changes were made:
• Removed the recommendation against bottom connections on FRP tanks to be consistent with referenced
standards.
• Extended the recommendation for containment to all tanks with flash points below 200°F (93°C). Previously,
no containment was required for tanks of less than 15,000 gal (57 m3) except to protect buildings.
• Simplified the spacing and diking recommendations.
• Upgraded the recommendation for indoor tanks, including automatic fire and leak-detection systems.
• Added recommendations for secondary containment tanks.
• Eliminated the exemption to the recommendations for cutoffs for small fuel oil tanks serving heating
appliances.
• Added recommendations for IBCs when supplying flammable liquids to a process.
• Added earthquake recommendations, including seismic shutoffs for indoor tanks.
• Added section on asphalt storage tanks.
• Added recommendations for monitoring tanks during fill operations, level-gauging, and high-level alarms
to an attended location.
• Moved information on carbon disulfide to Data Sheet 7-23N, Hazardous Chemical Data.
• Added section on asphalt storage tanks.
• Added recommendations for monitoring tanks during fill operations, level-gauging, and high-level alarms
to an attended location.
• Moved information on carbon disulfide to Data Sheet 7-23N, Hazardous Chemical Data.
September 2000. This revision of the document has been reorganized to provide a consistent format.
October 1994. Added information on manifold vents in systems, and detonation arrestors.
July 1976. Miscellaneous revisions and updating.
May 1971. Miscellaneous revisions and updating.
November 1967. Updated and consolidated material from handbook.
1959. Original guideline in Factory Mutual handbook of Industrial Loss Prevention.

©2007-2018 Factory Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.