Cathodic Protection Basics

Cathodic protection, also known as corrosion protection or CP, is federally required and refers to the protection of metallic components that routinely contain petroleum. Corrosion is the degradation of materials (metal) caused by a chemical reaction with the environment. In UST systems, metallic components can include tanks, product piping, flex connectors, or pipe fittings. If every metal aspect of the system is not cathodically protected, it could deteriorate and result in a release of product.

If the underground storage tank system was installed correctly, the metal components should be cathodically protected in one of three ways:

  • Cathodic Isolation
  • Galvanic (Sacrificial) Anode System
  • Impressed Current System

Routine inspections and maintenance are critical to documenting that your site and its components are receiving adequate protection. The EPA requires that sacrificial anode and impressed current systems be tested every three (3) years by a qualified CP tester. Operators must keep the records of the two most recent tests for compliance. In addition to this test, impressed current systems must also keep a record of rectifier inspections. At a minimum, the rectifier should be inspected every 60 days to make sure it is operating properly. For specific requirements, contact your state regulating agency as these rules can vary from state to state.

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