Fiberglass tanks

Sodium Hypochlorite Storage—A Guide for New Plant Operators

For plant operators, storing fuel, acids and chemicals in bulk quantities with safety is a major challenge.

These regulated substances have the potential to cause catastrophic accidents and, therefore, they need to be handled with care and stored in proper vessels to prevent any spills or leaks at the worksite.  

Sodium hypochlorite is an example of one such regulated substance.

Commonly known as bleach, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is an aggressive oxidizing agent that is regularly used in many industries throughout the world.  

In the petroleum industry, sodium hypochlorite is used for refining petroleum products. In the paper industry, it is used for bleaching wood pulp. In the food industry, it is used to sanitize food preparation equipment.

If you’ve recently added sodium hypochlorite to your list of working chemicals, it’s crucial that you know how to store the chemical properly to avoid any failures or mishaps at your facility.  

Instructions for storing sodium hypochlorite

First and foremost, sodium hypochlorite is best stored at temperatures below 15 degrees Centigrade and away from direct sunlight.

This is important to prevent the chemical from decomposing.

Where storing sodium hypochlorite indoors is not an option and outdoor storage is required, necessary measures must be taken to mitigate UV exposure. Precautions include:

  • Insulation
  • Mastic coating
  • Heat tracing

Furthermore, you must make sure that the chemical retains a high pH value—ideally above 11—during storage, otherwise it could lose its effective strength.    

Provision of the vent pipe in the storage tank is also crucial to prevent off-gassing of NaOCl. The vent pipe should be at least double the size of the inlet pipe in terms of diameter.  

As for the tank material, both polyethylene and fiberglass offer high compatibility for storing sodium hypochlorite.  

In polyethylene, you have the option to choose high-density polyethylene and cross-linked polyethylene tanks. These tanks are fully capable of performing for 3 to 7 years without failing.

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) tanks cost more than polyethylene tanks; however, they can provide up to 15 years of service life when properly designed, installed and maintained.

If you decide to go with a fiberglass reinforced plastic tank for your sodium hypochlorite storage needs, make sure to choose a tank that features an “ortho-wound” internal corrosion barrier, otherwise corrosion can be an issue during chemical storage.

Need professional help with upgrading your containment solutions for storing hypochlorite at your Florida facility?

Speak to us today; along with FRP tank installation, modification, fiberglass tank inspection and repair services, we also offer third party consulting and advisory services for site upgrades related to storage and containment solutions.

Learn more about fiberglass Piping here