Bulk Storage and Piping Case Study

Major Steel Manufacturer, Ohio
Waste Acid Bulk Storage


This major steel manufacturer was founded in 1900 in and established the first formal research department in the steel industry in 1910. It grew through the development of specialty steels and new technology. Among the many “firsts” was the development of continuous rolling technology. This company holds more U.S. patents than any other specialty steel company.

Today, the Specialty Flat-Rolled Steels segment produces flat-rolled chrome stainless, specialty stainless sheet and strip, electrical steels and galvanized steels. As measured by production and shipped tons, the company is the largest specialty steel company in the United States.


However, as the company grows in size, so too does its environmental and safety concerns. As part of its efforts to reduce its environmental expenses and maintain a high level of safety in its manufacturing facilities, it had Mech-Chem inspect, test, and certify its waste acid storage tanks. Four bulk storage systems ranging in size from 10,000 gallons to 40,000 gallons were inspected and certified. Mech-Chem then went on to design a new waste acid bulk storage facility and related piping system to handle their waste acid production.


The testing and inspection of the waste acid storage tanks included:
  • Visual internal inspection
  • Visual external inspection
  • Spark testing of the tank liners
  • Nondestructive ultrasonic thickness survey tests of the tank shell and heads
An engineering report, including a CAD drawing for each tank showing results of the nondestructive ultrasonic thickness survey and tests, was prepared to submit to the Ohio EPA. The inspection, structural analysis, and certification of the secondary containment systems also included:
  • Visual inspection
  • Structural integrity analysis
  • Calculate containment capacity
  • Materials of construction
  • Structural and mechanical review of the design for compliance with Ohio EPA waste management regulations
An additional engineering report was generated outlining the results of the inspection and structural analysis of the secondary containment. As a result of our familiarity with the company’s bulk storage systems, Mech-Chem was also contracted to engineer and design a waste acid bulk storage facility and related piping systems. The waste acid bulk storage facility consists of eight process and storage tanks varying in size from 5,000 gallons to 40,000 gallons. The waste acids piped and stored in this system include Hydrofluoric Acid (HF), Nitric Acid (HNO3), Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), and Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4). The handling of these various acid mixtures present unique material of construction requirements including specialized tank liners, coatings for the containment dikes, polypro lined steel pipe and NEMA 4X electrical design. The bulk storage facility and piping systems are designed to handle 20,000 gallons per day of various hot (160 F) waste acid mixtures. The facility design provides for secondary containment for the process tanks, storage tanks, pumps, piping, and loading and unloading of tank wagons.


The company not only ensured that its existing tanks met all the necessary OSHA codes and EPA regulations, but it also acquired a new, fully automated PLC controlled bulk storage and piping system designed by Mech-Chem.