The Hidden Menace: Corrosion Inside Water Storage Tanks

The Hidden Menace: Corrosion Inside Water Storage Tanks


Water storage tanks are essential components of our infrastructure, ensuring a reliable supply of clean water to our homes, businesses, and communities. While these tanks are built to be durable, they are not immune to a silent threat – corrosion. Corrosion forming inside water storage tanks is a significant problem that can have far-reaching consequences, from water quality issues to costly repairs and even public health risks. In this 2,000-word blog post, we will explore the reasons why corrosion in water storage tanks is bad and why it demands our attention.

Understanding Corrosion

Corrosion is a natural process that occurs when metal materials, such as the steel and iron used in water storage tanks, react with their environment. Water, oxygen, and various impurities can accelerate this process, leading to the gradual breakdown of the metal. The formation of rust and other corrosion byproducts weakens the tank structure and can contaminate the stored water. Let’s delve into the reasons why this is a major concern.

  1. Water Quality Deterioration
    One of the most significant concerns related to corrosion inside water storage tanks is its impact on water quality. As corrosion progresses, the byproducts of this process, such as rust and other metal particulates, can leach into the stored water. This leads to the degradation of water quality and can introduce harmful substances into the drinking water supply. As a result, consumers may experience a range of adverse effects, including changes in taste and odor, discoloration, and, more alarmingly, exposure to potentially harmful contaminants.
  2. Health Risks
    Corroded water storage tanks can pose serious health risks to the communities they serve. When corrosion byproducts and contaminants enter the water supply, they can introduce pathogens and other harmful substances that compromise the safety of the drinking water. Ingesting or coming into contact with these contaminants can lead to various health issues, ranging from gastrointestinal problems to more severe illnesses. It is crucial to prevent such risks and ensure water quality meets safety standards.
  3. Increased Maintenance Costs
    Corrosion inside water storage tanks necessitates extensive and expensive maintenance and repair. As the tank corrodes, it weakens the structural integrity, increasing the risk of leaks, breaches, or even catastrophic failures. Repairing or replacing a corroded water tank can be financially burdensome for municipalities and water utilities. These costs ultimately get passed on to consumers in the form of higher water bills.
  4. Reduced Service Life
    Water storage tanks are long-term investments designed to serve communities for many decades. However, corrosion can significantly reduce the service life of these critical infrastructure components. Tanks that are prematurely taken out of service due to corrosion must be replaced, causing further financial strain on communities. Ensuring the longevity of water storage tanks is not just about saving money but also about maintaining reliable water services for generations to come.
  5. Environmental Impact
    Corrosion within water storage tanks also has an environmental impact. As tanks deteriorate, they are more likely to leak or rupture, potentially causing significant water wastage. Leaked water can lead to soil erosion, property damage, and contamination of natural water bodies, posing environmental challenges that are costly to address.
  6. Aesthetic Concerns
    Corroded water tanks can affect a community’s aesthetics. Unsightly rust stains and discolored water can deter potential residents and businesses, ultimately impacting property values and local economic development. Aesthetic concerns might seem less critical than health and safety issues, but they shouldn’t be overlooked.


Preventing and Managing Corrosion

Preventing and managing corrosion inside water storage tanks is critical to mitigating the negative consequences outlined above. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Routine Inspection and Maintenance: Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify corrosion in its early stages. Implementing a maintenance schedule that includes cleaning, repainting, and coating can extend the tank’s lifespan.
  2. Cathodic Protection: Cathodic protection systems can be installed to prevent or slow down the corrosion process by providing an electric charge that counteracts the natural corrosion tendency.
  3. Water Treatment: Implementing effective water treatment processes can help reduce the introduction of contaminants and minimize the corrosive impact on tank materials.
  4. Corrosion-Resistant Materials: When constructing or refurbishing water storage tanks, using corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel or fiberglass, can help prevent corrosion.
  5. Coatings and Linings: Applying suitable coatings and linings to tank interiors can create a protective barrier between the water and the tank material, reducing the likelihood of corrosion.



Corrosion forming inside water storage tanks is a significant and multifaceted problem that affects water quality, public health, finances, and the environment. Preventing and managing corrosion is crucial to maintaining reliable and safe water supplies for our communities. By understanding the implications of corrosion, implementing preventative measures, and investing in regular maintenance, we can safeguard our water infrastructure and ensure the continued well-being of our communities. Addressing this hidden menace is not just an option; it’s a necessity for the health and prosperity of our society.