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Water tank failure at mine site is a warning for industry

water tank failure
A water tank failure had the potential to cause more damage if personnel were present

A recent investigation report released by the DMP Western Australia has sent a warning to industry about the structural integrity of water tanks. A water tank failure resulted in a high potential incident. Fortunately in this mining incident, no one was injured.

The DMP said in May 2018, a 600,000 litre raw water tank failed. It was a rubber-lined steel construction. At the time of failure, the tank was near full capacity. The outrush of water affected an operational area of 24,000m², displacing pumping infrastructure, ladders and associated debris. There were no personnel in the vicinity at the time of failure.

The cause of the water tank failure

The structural integrity of the water tank had deteriorated substantially due to corrosion. water tank failure

A number of contributory causes to the water tank failure were also identified including inadequate inspection and maintenance management of the water tank. Failure to ensure the condition of the structure remains within the design limits. Failure to assess the structural integrity of the tank by a competent person with appropriate training and experience.The

Actions required across industry

The DMP WA has made the following recommendations to manage water tank failure and the structural integrity of tank structures according to relevant Australian Standards and having regard to the designer’s specifications.

  • Ensure tanks are only used in applications consistent with the original design intent.
  • Use the tank manufacturer’s guidelines, or a risk-based approach, to determine the nature and timing of inspections and monitoring that will periodically assess all tanks on-site to confirm structural integrity and provide advice on any remedial measures necessary.
  • Ensure the structure and its components are maintained in a safe and stable condition. Ensure any repairs are undertaken by competent persons with appropriate training and experience.
  • Rank all remedial measures based on risk and prioritise them.

Images DMP WA. Original Report is here

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