How Does EPDM Lining Futureproof A Fire Tank?

An EPDM lining may be recommended following an inspection of a fire tank. If you are not sure what this lining is or does, you are at a disadvantage. This is especially the case if the recommendation offers an ‘either or’ choice. Understanding how this type of tank lining can benefit your life-preserving sprinkler system is important.

Often a lining manufactured from EPDM is recommended because the internal condition of a water tank is deteriorating. Nearly all sprinkler tanks benefit from a lining. They help to prevent rust and keep bacteria in check by limiting erosion.

EPDM is a synthetic rubber known for its strength and durability. The fabric is manufactured from ethylene and propylene, along with a diene comonomer. Thanks to the latter, it offers crosslinking through sulphur vulcanisation arrangements. Dienes commonly used include ethylidene norbornene, vinyl norbornene and dicyclopentadiene. If that sounds a bit too technical, the easiest way to explain EPDM’s overriding qualities is to say it is considered a more robust option than butyl rubber.

What are the benefits of relining a sprinkler tank?

One of the biggest issues with maintaining a fire tank is keeping it in good condition for as long as possible. Often located in hard to access areas, including underground, it can be expensive to have a tank removed. Replacing an existing sprinkler tank will involve lengthy processes and, inevitably, cause some disruption to a site. However, the biggest impact is on safety. Your sprinkler system will not have access to water while the work is carried out.

There can be financial as well as obvious risks involved in removing a water tank. If it is possible to repair or refurbish a tank, keeping it in-situ is cost-effective and far less hassle. This is where EPDM lining makes good economic sense. It can repair a tank to its original state.

This type of tank lining could be recommended if:

  • A fire tank is leaking
  • An existing lining has failed
  • A tank coating has degraded

It is important to point out that a very badly damaged tank will have to be taken out of service and replaced. An inspection by an independent, competent expert will determine whether your tank is suitable for re-lining. The clear benefits of opting for re-lining with EPDM is that it is much cheaper than replacement and less time consuming. It limits on-site disruption and ensures your sprinkler system is back up and running in just a few days. In addition, a specialist contractor will guarantee the work. You can generally expect the lining to perform for a decade.

The EPDM lining process

EPDM lining is a straightforward job for experts who carry out this type of work every day. While the process of draining and preparing the tank is the same as any other repair or refurbishment project, the work differs when it comes to installing the lining. The interior of the tank and flanges will be thoroughly cleaned. This process also includes the removal of rust deposits. A ground level access panel will be opened up and fittings from the outlet and overflow temporarily removed.

Most EPDM linings are manufactured to order. They are bespoke and designed to fit a specific sprinkler tank. The only time when a lining is crafted on-site is when a sump exists. Before the lining can be installed, a matting bag is used to provide a barrier between the EPDM and the tank’s surfaces. The bag is usually hung from eyelets made from stainless steel, positioned around the top of the tank. Cuts are necessary to make way for connections and fittings.

​An EPDM lining is always installed from the base of a fire tank. Once the base is covered, lining for the walls is raised into place. Supports are built into the lining to ensure a secure fit. When the lining is in position, connectors and flanges can be put back. New seals are always used to protect the integrity of the installation.

The installation will be tested during and after the fire tank has been refilled. Considered a long-term solution to common sprinkler tank problems, EPDM lining is safe, secure and very economical. The first step to extending the life of your tank is to book an inspection. If you have already had this done and are putting a job out to tender, make sure you opt for a contractor with the necessary accreditations and safety management skills. Base your decision on competence, examples of previous work undertaken and whether a contractor offers a guarantee.

Leaving a fire tank to deteriorate when a simple solution will add years to its life, is poor judgement. You can extend its lifespan and futureproof it against corrosion for literally years. Thinking about relining your sprinkler tank? Get a quote from an expert.