Conventionally reinforced (non-prestressed) concrete tanks have been used extensively in municipal and industrial facilities for several decades. The design of these structures requires that attention be given not only to strength requirements, but to serviceability requirements as well. A properly designed tank must be able to withstand the applied loads without cracks that could cause leakage. The goal of designing and constructing a structurally sound tank that will not leak is achieved by providing the proper amount and distribution of reinforcement, the proper spacing and detailing of construction joints, and the use of quality concrete, placed using proper construction practices.

A thorough review of the latest report by ACI Committee 350 entitled Environmental Engineering Concrete Structures is essential in understanding the design of tanks. The document is based on the structural design provision that conform to Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete (ACI 318). Therefore, a working knowledge of ACI 318 is also necessary.

Concrete Tank Resources

Rectangular Concrete Tanks, IS003 
Showcases analysis and design for rectangular tanks containing fluids. Describes the analysis procedure and provides tables of coefficients for moments, shears, and deflections due to uniform and triangular loads. 


Design of Liquid-Containing Concrete Structures for Earthquake Forces, EB219 
Gain comprehensive information on the design and detailing requirements for concrete tanks subjected to earthquake forces. The earthquake forces are computed in accordance with a variety of codes, including the 2000 International Building Code. 


Underground Concrete Tanks, SR271
Provides general guidelines for design of underground tanks. Also included are the typical reinforcing details for circular and rectangular concrete tanks which can be useful for making preliminary estimates and drawing final plans. (Free PDF download)

Effects of Substances on Concrete and Guide to Protective Treatments, IS001
Know what chemicals can attack concrete and how to protect it. This informative document evaluates the effect of nearly 250 substances on concrete and recommends methods to improve durability by resisting and dealing with attacks. Available as PDF, Print.