Piping systems are used to transport fluids from one point to another, usually from a storage tank to the point of use. A place like a manufacturing facility may have several systems that are used for a variety of fluid types. If one of these pipes ruptures, a major spill will occur, and cleanup activities could be extensive.
Many regulations require regular inspections of the storage tanks and piping systems. Failure to do so could lead to substantial fines. More importantly, failure to conduct the inspections could keep company personnel from discovering small problems before they become major ones.
Not only do regulations require inspections to be done, they must be documented, and records must be maintained for a few years. The method and frequency for these activities must be described in a written plan that is also required by the regulations. It is typically one or more EPA regulations that cover the system. Exactly which regulation applies depends on the product. For example, oil storage and piping systems are covered by the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan requirements.
Pipe support systems are critical parts of fluid delivery structures. When these supports begin to weaken, they are at risk for failure. If a component breaks, the pipe is likely to break also. If this happens, it will not only be necessary to use resources for cleanup, but the spill may need to be reported to the federal or state regulatory agencies if there is potential for it to contaminate streams or the ground water.
There are types of supports that do their job while still allowing the pipe itself to remain visible for inspection. Companies like Versablock offer a selection of supports that serve this purpose. Most of them are made of materials that are made to last. After all, supporting structure components should last as long as the pipe itself.
When calculating the weight that these supports should be able to handle, the weight of the pipe as well as the weight of the fluid that is passing through that pipe must be calculated. While this may be obvious, one thing that is easily overlooked is the weight of any solids that can settle out of the fluid and remain in the pipe. These solids can amount to a tremendous amount of weight. This is especially true of a duct system that primarily moves air.
Good supports for pipes should be inspected and replaced if necessary. When new supports are needed, as much thought should go into them as the pipes themselves.