A Guide to Aluminum Dome Roofs for Aboveground Storage Tanks

A Guide to Aluminum Dome Roofs for Aboveground Storage Tanks

Aluminum dome roofs are a unique roof style and have a variety of benefits for aboveground storage tank applications. What are these space-age-looking structures, and why are they used for tanks? To answer those questions (and a few more) here’s our guide to aluminum dome roofs for storage tanks.

What Are Aluminum Dome Roofs?

Aluminum dome roofs, also known as aluminum geodesic dome roofs or ADRs, are lightweight, curved roofs that are composed of numerous panels connected along geodesic lines. A geodesic line is the shortest line between two points on a curved surface. Geodesic structures use geodesic lines to create curved, domed structures from small, geometric panels that are connected along those geodesic lines. 

How Are Aluminum Dome Roofs Installed?

Geodesic aluminum dome roofs can be installed in a few different ways, depending on the needs of the application. These roofs can be installed inside the tank, starting on the tank floor. This is done by constructing the dome inside of the tank and is most often seen in use cases where space external to the tank is limited.

For other applications with more space, ADRs may be prefabricated and lowered over existing storage tanks. Some of these will be like other tank roof styles, where the roof sits atop the tank walls and is secured to the tank. Other instances will involve an ADR that is significantly larger than the tank it covers, and it will be secured to the ground, covering the entirety of the tank.

Aluminum dome roofs can be attached by two primary methods: batten or lapped. 

  • The batten method involves using batten bars to clamp the raw edges of the roof into place. These bars are sealed (often with silicone strips), which prevents slipping or disengagement. 
  • Lapped roofs are similar to traditional asphalt shingle roofs seen in residential construction; the aluminum panels of the roof are overlapped downward and fastened with screws. This method requires no caulk or sealants but is still effective at keeping out the elements.

What Applications Use Aluminum Dome Roofs?

In the industrial sector, storage tank ADRs are commonly used for containing potable water, fuel, wastewater, or sludge, and are used in the municipal and civil, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors.

What Are the Benefits of Aluminum Dome Roofs?

Aluminum dome roofs have a bevy of benefits for use with aboveground storage tanks, due to their unique design properties and the performance characteristics of the aluminum and aluminum alloys of which they’re comprised. These storage tank roofs are:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong because, unlike other roof designs, geodesic domes increase in strength proportionally to their size
  • Prefabricated
  • Low maintenance
  • Easily installed via crane, reducing construction time and cost

Additionally, aluminum dome roofs: 

  • Deflect and resist strong winds and hurricanes
  • Shed rain and snow, preventing pooling and cave-ins that can occur with flat roof designs
  • Reduce leakage of gas and other chemical compounds by reducing emissions by 80%–90% 
  • Resist rust and corrosion
  • Resist fire

Contact PALA — Leader in Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication & Repair

If you’re interested in how geodesic aluminum dome roofs could work for your storage tank application, you’ve come to the right place. PALA Interstate is your turnkey source for all things aboveground storage tanks, from fabrication and installation to inspection and maintenance. Get in touch to start the conversation about your ADR and storage tank needs today.

What is a Tank Farm?

What is a Tank Farm?

You may have seen one, on a lonely stretch of railroad just outside an oil refinery, or planted in the middle of seemingly endless fields of corn and soybeans. Maybe you caught a glimpse from above, outside an airplane window: rows and rows of giant tanks. 

What is that place? It’s a tank farm. They’re a crucial component of modern life and industry, storing the substances necessary to transportation and production. Below, we explain what a tank farm is, some common applications of tank farms, and the safety concerns and practices that attend them. 

Definition of a Tank Farm

Simply put, a tank farm is a site containing many aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), used primarily for the bulk storage of chemicals and fluids, like water, oil, or even jet fuel. They are also used for substances like the acids used in many manufacturing processes. In the oil and gas industry, tank farms may be referred to as oil terminals or oil depots.

Tank farms generally consist of a series of storage tanks, usually ASTs, and gantries, structures used to discharge substances for transport. Gantries are often bridge-like structures that allow for discharge of the substance into shipping vessels like barges or tanker trucks.

definition of a tank farm

What Are Some Common Uses for Tank Farms?

Tank farms are most commonly associated with oil and gas, as these are flammable, hazardous substances that are stored as liquids and are used throughout the country (and the world) for fuel for a variety of applications. Tank farms are often located at the source of extraction for fuel oils or at ends of pipelines.

Propane and other fuels are also commonly stored at tank farms. Locations such as airports or space launch bases may have their own tank farms for fuel storage.

Thorough Safety Training and Culture

It’s a common saying in construction and industry that a process is only as safe as the least safe person involved, and it’s true. Fostering a safety culture, with recurrent safety training and employees who are committed to safe working practices, is crucial to keeping people, nature, and the company’s bottom line healthy and safe on a tank farm.

Get Safe Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication & Installation from PALA

If your application requires a tank farm, PALA Interstate has the aboveground storage tank and tank services you need. We offer pressure vessel and AST fabrication, along with inspection, maintenance, and  3D tank laser scanning services. Let us be your one-stop tank farm shop — get in touch today to discuss your aboveground storage tank needs.

Your Start-to-Finish Guide to the Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication Process

Your Start-to-Finish Guide to the Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication Process

If you work in the energy, agriculture, mining, water treatment, or industrial manufacturing fields, you’re well-acquainted with aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), as they are essential to your operations, for various storage and containment needs. ASTs hold fuel, water, fertilizer, food products, and more. 

How Are Aboveground Storage Tanks Fabricated? 

How are these important pieces of infrastructure constructed? Here’s what goes into the fabrication of an aboveground storage tank, from the beginning to the end of the process.

1. Design and Engineering

Storage tank engineering takes into account the unique needs of the application—the material to be contained, the required pressure and temperature, the storage duration, the types of containment needed, etc.—and the regulatory requirements to create a suitable tank design. 

Some Common Tank Designs

  • External floating roof tanks have a cylindrical shell and have a roof that is open, floating atop the fluid stored in it. These tanks are often used for petroleum and oil.


  • Domed external floating roof tanks are very similar to typical external floating roof tanks but feature a roof that has a lighter domed structure.


  • Internal floating roof tanks have a roof that is affixed to the tank shell, as well as a second, internal roof that floats atop the contained substance. These tanks are beneficial in extreme weather conditions.


  • Fixed roof tanks have a domed or cone-shaped roof that is permanently attached to the shell. These are used mainly for water storage.


  • Horizontal tanks are generally smaller and more portable than vertical ASTs and are designed to resist seepage.


  • Pressure vessels are designed to contain pressurized substances and contain specialized pressure equipment such as vapor reservoirs.


  • Variable vapor space tanks are spherical pressure vessels designed to maintain structural integrity under extremely high pressures. 

2. Foundation

Aboveground storage tank foundations are crucial for ensuring the optimal performance of the tanks and preventing containment issues. The right foundation for a tank depends on factors such as the soil condition, environmental conditions, size of the tank, tank application, and containment needs. Some AST foundation types include:

  • Concrete slab
  • Pile-supported
  • Concrete ring wall
  • Crushed stone ring wall
  • Wick drains with surcharging
  • Stone columns
  • Compacted soil 

3. Fabrication

Aboveground storage tanks are generally fabricated in fabrication shops, workspaces designed especially to meet the space requirements of fabricating large metal components for tanks. Such a space will have several acres of laydown space, as well as heavy equipment like cranes and welders. Here, skilled technicians take the specifications from the design engineers and translate them into the components of the AST.

The material a storage tank is fabricated from is dependent on several factors, including the application, tank environment, and project budget. Some common tank materials include:

  • Various grades of stainless steel
  • Various grades of carbon steel
  • Duplex stainless 

4. Installation

Once an aboveground storage tank is fabricated and the site is prepared, it’s time for installation. This can be as simple as unloading the fully assembled AST onto the prepared foundation on the site (if the tank is small enough); it can also mean delivery of the tank components to the site, to be assembled on-location by an experienced installation crew (large ASTs).

5. Evaluation and Certification

Once a tank has been installed, it must be evaluated and certified before it can be put into use. Due to the nature of many substances stored in ASTs, which can be hazards to environmental or human health and are often valuable substances, critical to the operations of an organization, ensuring that the vessel is fit for service and meets all applicable standards and regulations is necessary before it can be put into service.

What Codes and Standards Apply to Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication? 

The primary standards that apply to AST fabrication are API 620 and API 650. API 650 pertains to tanks (of varying sizes) designed for withstanding higher temperatures at minimal pressure, and API 620 pertains to large, lower-temperature, pressurized storage tanks. 

Other codes and regulations, such as the NBIC and ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code inform the inspection, maintenance, and repairs of aboveground storage tanks and pressure vessels.

Contact PALA for Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication 

PALA Interstate has tank fabrication facilities in Baton Rouge and Hammond, Louisiana, that can accommodate your storage tank fabrication needs. We work with a variety of alloys, from stainless steel and titanium to Iconel and Haynes alloys, and we can fabricate storage tanks to meet API 650 and 620 standards. 

If you have aboveground tanks in need of inspection, maintenance, or repair, PALA is also your source. We offer comprehensive tank maintenance programs, in-shop and on-site repair services, and even 3D Laser Scanning for tank analysis and inspection.

Important Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations to Understand

Important Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations to Understand

Aboveground storage tanks are designed to hold a variety of liquid or gaseous substances in bulk quantities, many of which are harmful to people, facilities, and/or ecosystems. To ensure safety for all, multiple agencies have established regulations specific to the design, build, and operation of aboveground storage tanks. 

Below, we’ll take a look at the most important aboveground storage tank regulations to understand. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations — An Overview

There are hundreds of regulations out there related to aboveground storage tanks, about anything from design and build to inspection and maintenance. Since these structures often store hazardous materials (and lots of them), various agencies have joined the discussion and implemented guidelines around their use. 

Here’s a list of some of the most prominent organizations that have created their own set of aboveground storage tank regulations. You can click on each to jump to their description in this article. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by the EPA

If your facility has aboveground storage tanks that hold an oil of any kind, it may be subject to the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation: 40 CFR Part 112. While this regulation doesn’t specifically mention the term “aboveground storage tank,” it includes that term under the broader category of bulk storage containers. 

SPCC helps prevent a discharge of oil from running into navigable waters or shorelines. It also ensures that every aboveground storage tank facility has a comprehensive response plan that prepares them in case of a spill emergency. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by Local Governments

Aside from regulations established by the federal government (EPA), your local government and authorizing agencies may also have their own set of standards to follow. These will likely match federal regulations to an extent, but also have some more standards specific to the area and environment in which your facility is located. 

This way, if your local environment is at risk of any specific threats or challenges, you and the people around you can be assured that you’re aware of them and have prepared for them properly. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by Industry-Specific Agencies

There are a few industry-specific agencies that have created their own aboveground storage tank regulations based on their experience and expertise. 

American Petroleum Institute (API)

API standards are specific to aboveground storage tanks that hold oil. There are three that are most applicable: 

  • API 620: tanks under pressure that are field-erected or repaired
  • API 650: new tank construction
  • API 653: tank repairs

Wondering how API 620 and API 650 differ, and which may be best suited for your application? Read this blog

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

ASME’s standards regulate the design, fabrication, and repair of aboveground storage tanks. Most importantly, they look closely at shop-fabricated tanks to ensure manufacturing processes and protocols are on track with best practices. This helps to ensure high-quality results, long-lasting solutions, and safety for all involved.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The NFPA regulates any aboveground storage tanks holding flammable liquids. They require that tanks are manufactured in compliance with the following standards: 

  • UL 142: tanks that store non-corrosive, stable flammable and combustible liquids with a specific gravity no greater than 1.0.
  • UL 2085: tanks that must meet additional, specific design requirements to ensure a two-hour fire resistance and a secondary containment solution.

How Do I Know Which Regulations Apply to My Facility? 

After reading through those aboveground storage tank regulations, you might wonder if they all apply to your facility or not. There are a few ways to find out. 

First, you could conduct your own research by reading articles online, buying standards books, etc. This might also include asking colleagues that may have a better understanding of technical regulations. 

Or, possibly a better option is to talk to an aboveground storage tank manufacturer in your area. They’ll be up to date on all the regulations, and how they’d apply to your location and project. Then, they can help you complete the project by designing, building, and maintaining an aboveground storage tank solution ideal for your application. 

For Guaranteed Quality & Compliance, Choose PALA. 

To ensure the safety of your people, facility, and environment, you must comply with the aboveground storage tank regulations in this article. At PALA, we can help you design, fabricate, and install an aboveground storage tank solution that complies, then maintain it, so it stays that way. For more information, don’t hesitate to give our team a call or contact us online. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Repair: When Is It Needed, and How Is It Done?

Aboveground Storage Tank Repair: When Is It Needed, and How Is It Done?

Aboveground storage tanks are built to be incredibly durable, safely storing hazardous liquids and gasses for decades. However, there’s always a chance yours may need to be repaired. 

Let’s talk about how to know when your aboveground storage tank needs repair, as well as some methods in which those repairs can be executed.

How Long Do Aboveground Storage Tanks Last?

Aboveground storage tanks last an average of 20 years. However, this can vary tremendously based on factors like:

  • Tank fabrication material
  • Tank fabrication method
  • Substance(s) stored in the tank
  • Tank special features
  • Tank location
  • Tank size
  • Tank maintenance protocols

If your aboveground storage tank is built and maintained well, it should last those full 20 years or more. But even the highest-quality, most well-maintained tanks require repairs at some point. 

4 Signs That Your Aboveground Storage Tank Needs Repair

It’s important to identify when your aboveground storage tank needs repair as soon as possible. Letting damage or inefficiencies go unnoticed for too long can result in disastrous, unsafe conditions for your people and the environment. 

If you recognize that your aboveground storage tank shows any of the following signs, you should contact a repair technician for a professional inspection promptly.

1. Your Aboveground Storage Tank’s Legs Are Unstable

If your aboveground storage tank’s legs are wobbling, it’s not properly supported. This is a major issue when you consider how much weight those legs need to support — between the tank itself and the materials within it. Improper support can cause the tank to collapse or fall over, spilling its contents all over the surrounding area.

2. Your Aboveground Storage Tank’s Surface Is Deteriorating

You may be able to notice signs of tank deterioration by looking at it or by running your hand along its surface. The surface should be smooth and free of any bumps, dimples, divots, or rust. 

If you do notice any imperfections in your tank’s surface, act immediately. Over time, those symptoms can worsen and turn into holes, which is an obvious problem.

3. Your Aboveground Storage Tank Is Leaking

Besides necessary vent lines, fill pipes, and exit pipes, your aboveground storage tank should be completely sealed. Make sure to check your tank’s surface, filters, and valves for a full inspection. 

If you notice holes, drips, or leaks — even the smallest ones — your tank needs repair. A small drip today could be a full-blown spill tomorrow.

4. Your Aboveground Storage Tank Is Almost 20 Years Old

If your aboveground storage tank is approaching its 20-year average life expectancy, it’s a good idea to schedule an inspection — even if it’s not showing any of the signs mentioned above. When safety is a high priority, it’s important to be proactive. 

Worst case scenario? You spent a few hours and a few hundred dollars to get peace of mind that your tank’s still functioning properly. Best case scenario? You find and fix an issue that wasn’t noticeable but could have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and severe personnel and environmental harm if left untreated.

How to Repair Your Aboveground Storage Tank

There are various methods of aboveground storage tank repair. As long as they comply with API standards and regulations, they’re viable for use. Some common ones include:

  • Welding replacement steel plates onto the tank
  • Filling tanks with fiberglass and coating them in resin and fabric
  • Repairing holes with laminating epoxy and epoxy putty
  • Inserting new liners and grout

Many of the traditional aboveground storage tank repair methods listed above involve difficult, time-consuming work. That’s why it’s important to get the repairs done right on the first try.

PALA’s 3D Laser Scanning Tank Services

Shell intensity scan.

To ensure that aboveground storage tank repairs are done effectively and efficiently, PALA uses cutting-edge laser scanning technology from Novlum uniTank

With this technology, we can conduct a comprehensive analysis and inspection within just a few hours, giving you real-time data to inform repair decisions. We can document existing tank conditions, perform fit-for-service studies, and use precise dimensional data for tank repairs, teardowns, and rebuilds.

It’s a fast, safe, and cost-effective option that sets the aboveground storage tank repair process up for success. Learn more about this 3D laser scanning technology and how it can benefit your application here.

Contact PALA For Your Aboveground Storage Tank Repair Needs

Aboveground storage tanks are durable, but they won’t last forever. If you notice something’s wrong with yours, it’s best to identify the problem and resolve it as quickly as possible. That’s what we’re here for.

PALA is your single source for comprehensive aboveground storage tank services. Using 3D laser scanning, we can ensure the safe storage of hazardous substances so you can keep your people, facility, and environment out of harm’s way. For more information on our aboveground storage tank repair capabilities, give our team a call or contact us online.

API 620 vs. API 650: Which is Best for Your Application?

API 620 vs. API 650: Which is Best for Your Application?

If you’re installing new aboveground storage tanks at your facility, you’ve probably heard that there are two main standards that regulate how storage tanks are built and designed: API 650 and API 620. But what is the difference? How do you know which is best for your application and industry?

There are many similarities and areas of overlap between the two standards. The differences between the two standards have to do with temperature, pressure, size, and the substance that will be contained in the storage tank. Read on to find out more about API Standard 650 and Standard 620 and how they differ.

5- PALA HIA- Fuel Tanks (1)

Understanding API 650

API 650 Standard and Requirements

API Standard 650 defines the construction and design regulations for storage tanks that contain chemicals, oil, gas, biofuel, treated water, or other substances, with contents up to 2.5 PSI in pressure and between -40°F and 500°F design temperature. These tanks must be aboveground, cylindrical tanks with a fully, evenly supported tank bottom. They can have either open or closed-top designs and can be constructed from aluminum, carbon steel, or austenitic stainless steel.

To meet API 650 regulations, the tank must be constructed by a manufacturer bearing an American Society of Engineers (ASME) welding certification. While many API 650 tanks are field-erected, some based on diameter and height can be fabricated in-shop and shipped ready for installation.

If an existing API 650 or 620 storage tank needs inspection, repair, alteration or reconstruction, API 653 provides the guidance required. API 653 provides minimum requirements for maintaining the integrity of tanks after they have been placed in service.


  • Oil and gas
  • Biofuels
  • Chemicals
  • Water


  • Energy
  • Chemical
  • Petrochemical
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Fertilizer
  • Water treatment
  • Manufacturing
  • Food production

Understanding API 620

API 620 Standard and Requirements

API Standard 620 defines the appropriate design and construction of tanks with a diameter at or over 300 feet, and with contents up to 15 PSI in pressure and between -325°F and 250°F. This requires that compliant tanks be cylindrical, made of carbon steel, a low-temperature nickel alloy, or austenitic stainless steel, and revolve around a single vertical axis. The steel from which the tank is constructed must be at least 3/16 of an inch.

Like API 650, the 620 standard requires that the storage tank manufacturer have an ASME welding certification. Due to their large size, API 620 tanks are field-erected and repaired. While most of the inspection and testing requirements for API 620-compliant tanks are laid out in the standard itself, guidelines for performing a nondestructive examination of pressurized tanks are found in the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Article V.


  • Cryogenic liquid
  • Liquefied natural gas
  • Low-temperature, high-pressure liquids, vapors, or gases
  • Isolation tanks


  • Metal processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Food technology
  • Electronics
  • Semiconductors
10- PALA HIA- Fuel Tanks

What is the difference between API 650 and API 620 Standards?

To summarize the differences between these standards for storage tanks, API 650 deals with tanks of any size capable of withstanding higher temperatures at minimal pressure, whereas API 620 pertains to large, pressurized storage tanks containing materials at lower temperatures and can store any kind of liquid. API 650 tanks are not size restricted and are rated for higher temperatures, but lower pressures, and are used prolifically in oil and gas and chemical storage applications.

PALA is proud to manufacture aboveground storage tanks according to both API 650 and 620 tank standards, ensuring that no matter your application, our fabrication team can deliver the solution you need. For more information, give us a call or contact us online.