right tanker cleaning

Everything about the right tanker cleaning

Large quantities of animal feed, chemicals, mineral oils and foodstuffs are often transported in tank trucks. Careful cleaning of the tanker truck is required at regular intervals and when the goods to be transported are changed. Only under this condition will the goods reach the recipient safely and in the right quality. Read here what needs to be considered when cleaning tankers.

What is the standard for tanker cleaning?

Tankers are trucks or trailers that can transport free-flowing, liquid or gaseous substances in a built-in tank. Some of them are equipped with hoses and pumps or blowers that are used for emptying. There is a uniform standard for tanker cleaning in Europe that was developed by the EFTCO (European Federation of Tank Cleaning Organisations). In Germany, the DVTI (Deutscher Verband für Tankinnenreinigung e.V.) represents the interests of companies that operate stationary tank interior cleaning systems. There are similar organizations in the other EU countries. In the Netherlands, for example, ATCN (Association of Tank Cleaning Companies Netherlands) takes on the tasks. The aim of the standard is to ensure quality, environmental and health protection as well as occupational safety during cleaning work.

tanker cleaning

What is the ECD cleaning certificate?

Companies that have been proven to use the standard use a uniform cleaning certificate known as the ECD (European Cleaning Document). The advantage of the ECD is that EFTCO tank cleaning codes are used for all information. In this way, the content is comprehensible for everyone involved, regardless of the exhibitor’s language. Permission is required to issue the certificate. This is granted by the DVTI when the cleaning facility is registered and meets all the regulations and conditions of the EFTCO.

How are the EFTCO tank cleaning codes structured?

The EFTCO tank truck cleaning codes consist of one letter and two digits.

The letters have the following meaning:

  • C (Cleaning agents) – cleaning agents

Examples: C01 alkaline cleaning agent, C10 neutral cleaning agent, C20 acidic cleaning agent, C30 caustic soda,

  • E (Extras) – additional work

Examples: E01 entry into the tank, E03 passivation, E04 repair, E15 cleaning with a fuel nozzle, E35 hot air drying, E90 sealing, E95 exterior cleaning

  • F (Foodstuffs) – Foodstuffs

Examples: F01 cleaning with drinking water only, F50 food-approved cleaner, F85 disinfection with hydrogen peroxide, F98 food-approved cleaning system

  • H (Handlings) – Equipment movements

Examples: H01 put on, H50 put down

  • P (Procedures) – Procedures

Examples: P01 cold rinsing, P02 hot rinsing with temperature above 80 °C, P21 rinsing, P30 drying, P60 nitrogen rinsing

  • T (Tests) – Checks

Examples: T01 visual and odor control, T41 conductivity test, T42 ATP test, T43 pH value measurement, T60 lower explosive limit test, T61 oxygen measurement, T90 vacuum test

  • W (Waste) – Waste

Examples: W01 waste product, W50 waste water treatment, W90 pre-cleaning

The EFTCO codes are listed on both the order forms and the cleaning certificates. In the case of orders, they help to clearly record the requirements. Proper execution of the tanker cleaning is documented in the certificates.

food transportation

How is compliance with the conditions and regulations checked?

An SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment System) is used to check compliance with the conditions and regulations. The basis is a detailed, standardized questionnaire that is filled out by the applicant and evaluated by independent experts.

The individual questions about cleaning the inside and outside of a tanker relate to:

  • the specification of the technical equipment of the cleaning system (construction, inspection, maintenance and repair, calibration of measuring and testing devices…)
  • the work processes of the facility (existence of appropriate work and process instructions, enforcement of occupational safety, use of qualified specialist personnel, monitoring of emissions, responsibility of the driver…)
  • order processing (existence of a proper cleaning order, incoming inspection, selection and implementation of the appropriate cleaning process, final inspection, preparation of the cleaning certificate…)
  • administration (creation and storage of documents, provision of cleaning agents…)
  • special activities (tank heating, tank repair, transfer between road, rail, waterway or sea…)
  • the condition of the business premises (buildings, business premises, stationary facilities, tank cleaning, external washing, stationary storage tanks, waste management)
  • special guidelines for food and feed (suitable cleaning agents, hygiene, avoidance of cross-contamination, securing of valves and openings after tanker cleaning with seals…)

How does the tanker interior cleaning work?

Sophisticated technology for cleaning the inside of tankers is available in modern cleaning systems.

This includes:

  • suction systems for liquids and gases
  • high pressure pumps
  • hot water and steam generator
  • tanks with detergents and disinfectants
  • tank washing heads
  • blower for drying the interior
  • measuring and testing devices
  • waste water and exhaust air treatment

This equipment makes entering the tanks superfluous in most cases. If it is nevertheless necessary, special safety measures apply to protect employees from slipping and falling, from released aerosols, hazardous substances and detached product residues as well as from lack of oxygen.

Workers on a stainless steel milk tanker

Incoming inspection and selection of the cleaning process

With the order for the tanker cleaning, the operator of the cleaning system receives the necessary information about the vehicle, the last load, the required scope of cleaning and the required checks of the cleaning result. The cleaning process, the use of special cleaning, rinsing and disinfecting agents and the safety measures to be taken depend on these facts. Therefore, the cleaning company must carefully check whether the information corresponds to the facts found.

Preferred cleaning processes use cold water, hot water or steam to clean the inside of tankers. If these media are not sufficient, special cleaning agents must be used. On the one hand, the cleaning agents used must be effective and, on the other hand, they must be compatible with the dirt. A wrong agent can trigger unexpected chemical reactions with charge residues. With the almost unlimited number of possible loads in tankers, selecting the right cleaning agent is a challenge.

Transportation of chemicals in the chemical industry

Truck tanker chemical delivery tanker cleaning

Customers who are familiar with the cargo can give hints. The manufacturers of agents for tanker cleaning should be listed service providers at the DVTI and offer well-founded advice. Kluthe is also a member of the ATCN. Kluthe’s product range includes solutions for all problems that arise when cleaning tank trucks.

This includes funds for:

  • the interior cleaning with food approval
  • the outside cleaning
  • the removal of latex residues
  • the removal of resins
  • the removal of labels and security labels
  • final check

The effectiveness of tanker cleaning must be proven by tests. The minimum scope includes the visual and odor control on the dome of the tank. Further checks are required for tankers used for transporting chemicals or foodstuffs. This includes, for example, the ATP test. ATP is the abbreviation of adenosine triphosphate. This substance provides energy metabolism in all living cells. If no ATP is detectable, no microorganisms have remained on the inside walls of the tank.