DoT Cargo Tank Testing

Is your cargo tank safe for travel? Tank testing helps you be certain. Read on to learn about Department of Transportation requirements and what tank testing is.

What Is DoT Cargo Tank Testing?

Commercial vehicles hauling cargo tanks often transport hazardous materials, so it’s essential that they remain safe, leak-proof, and insulated at all times. The Department of Transportation (DoT) mandates that each cargo tank go through a variety of rigorous tests and cargo inspections on a regular basis to ensure transportation remains safe for all involved.

Why Are Tank Tests and Inspections Required?

The transportation of hazardous materials is a dangerous, yet necessary job. The DoT requires a high level of inspection and testing to ensure your cargo tank doesn’t bring unnecessary harm to others. Maintaining an environment of safety and regulation is their goal and responsibility.

Hazardous materials are defined by the DoT as any material that can cause unreasonable harm to the public or environment. Here are some of these materials:

  • Explosives
  • Flammable and non-flammable gases
  • Flammable liquid
  • Oxidizing substances
  • Poisonous materials
  • Infectious materials
  • Radioactive substances
  • Corrosive substances
  • Hazardous waste

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What Does the Tank Testing Entail?

No matter the hazardous material you’re transporting, the DoT requires rigorous, regular testing to ensure the safety of the public, the environment, and those handling and transporting the material. Below is a list of the various types of DoT tanker tests and inspections, and how frequently they need to be conducted.

Pressure Testing

Pressure testing can be performed using two different methods, hydrostatic and pneumatic. Hydrostatic pressure testing involves filling the tank with water or a liquid with a similar viscosity. Pneumatic pressure tests do the same, but with inert gas. In each of these tank tests, the cargo tank must be able to maintain a “test pressure” for a specified duration of time. This ensures that the tanker is able to maintain a safe pressure the entire time it is on the road transporting hazardous materials. This is especially important when transporting flammable hazardous materials—as pressure rises, so does the temperature. Pressure testing must be performed at least once every 5 years.

Internal and External Visual Inspections

Both the inside and outside of your cargo tank must be inspected for dents, nicks, bulges, swelling, or other problems that can reduce the structural integrity of your tank. External inspections must be performed annually, and internal inspections must be performed once every five years. A structurally-sound tank will not have visual damages and will be able to safely transport hazardous materials without fear of them leaking or spilling.

Lining Inspection

The internal lining of your cargo tanker must have a DoT inspection at least once every year. Whether you’re transporting oxidizing or corrosive materials, you need to ensure that your lining is fully intact so that the materials don’t burn through the wall of the cargo tank. In these DoT inspections, the lining is checked for holes and other forms of damage. If these are found, the lining must be repaired and the underlying material must also be inspected.

Leakage Test

Leakage tank tests ensure that no hazardous materials spill out of the tank at any time during its transportation. In this test, the tank is pressurized to at least 80% of its maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP). After, the tank is inspected for external leaks. Leak tests must be performed annually to ensure that hazardous materials are transported without contaminating public spaces and the environment.

Choose White Tank & Truck Repair for Your Tank Test

When transporting hazardous materials, the stakes are high, and the safety of those involved is paramount. That’s why you need to partner with a trusted DoT inspector. At White Tank & Truck Repair, we can perform all levels of your DoT inspections, from leakage to lining. With our expertise, we can take care of all of your annual and five year inspection requirements, so you can be sure that your cargo tank is safe for travel, leak-proof, and structurally sound. If you have an inspection coming up, contact us today. We’ll test your cargo tank and make sure it’s safely back on the road in no time.