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How To Choose The Right Equipment For Your Tank Cleaning Project

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Tank cleaning projects can be a big undertaking, especially if you are not familiar with the equipment needed for the job.

Let's discuss the different equipment options available and help you choose the right equipment for your tank cleaning project.


By having the broadest line of specialty services, skilled personnel, and automation capabilities, Thompson Industrial Services recommends the below equipment and benefits for tank cleaning.

  1. Camera Manway Cannons
  2. Tank Sweeps
  3. Two or Three Phase Centrifuges
  4. Tank Cleaning ROV
  5. Tank Cleaning ROC
  6. SRS (Solids Reduction System)
  7. Filter Press

1. Camera Manway Cannons

If you are performing tank cleaning using an internal camera, it is essential that you properly clean the manway. Years of debris can stack up between the inner and outer shells, resulting in a nearly impossible task without first removing some or all of the rust.

A Camera Manway Cannon makes this job simpler by blasting water through your existing manway, removing any rust or debris that might hinder a proper cleaning. These systems allow the tank to remain sealed while a robotic cannon liquefies the sludge to allow pumping from the tank.


Other benefits of using camera manway cannons include:

  • Sludge can be further separated by processing with our separation equipment
  • No need for vapor recovery equipment
  • No need for personnel to enter the tank during cleaning phase
  • Enables compliance with stringent emissions regulations

2. Tank Sweeps

The use of tank sweeps is an efficient way to remove sludge buildup that can cause corrosion leading to clogged equipment or dangerous leaks.

Tank Sweeps are similar to a manway cannon, in that they both provide liquid pressure for effective cleaning. However, the difference is that tank sweeps must be inserted into your existing manway, while a Cannon blasts from outside of the tank. The Tank Sweep's long shape provides more coverage and lengthens the time between required Maintenance.


Other benefits of tank sweeps include:

  • Ideal for tanks with high solid levels that prohibits removing manway covers or landing on floating roofs
  • Advanced tank sweep is a fast system that reduces downtime and lowers costs with a greater reduction of waste products. No entry operation keeps personnel out of harm’s way
  • Environmentally conscious by achieving higher levels of hydrocarbon recovery

3. Two or Three Phase Centrifuges

2 phase centrifuges separate oil and water in your wastewater, allowing for recovery of oil and efficient removal of solids.  Oil is removed by centrifugal force, while water remains stationary in the tank. The resulting mixture of oil and wastewater is then to be drained into a separator to separate the two components again before being released. Three-phase centrifuges are fabricated to work on the similar notion, but they separate oil, water, and solids.


Centrifuges are beneficial for several reasons:

  1. They reduce the amount of water released into the environment, reducing or eliminating pollutants found in wastewater.
  2. Less wastewater is released, which reduces the number of required tank pumping cycles.
  3. Centrifuges can be installed anywhere along the line to any size manway between 50mm and 580mm.

4. Tank Cleaning ROV

A ROV is an electrical submersible pump that pushes water through your existing manway, removing any oil, sludge or rust that might hinder a proper cleaning. Unlike a tank sweep, which must be inserted into the manway, the ROV attaches to your camera manway invisibly from the exterior of your tank. A ROV is beneficial for regular cleaning operations or long term inspections where ease of access is necessary.


Some benefits of using ROVs include:

  • ROVs may come with a vertically adjustable water cannon (mounted on the ROV’s top deck with auger removed)
  • High pressure piping allows for high volume/low pressure (centrifugal pump) or high volume/low pressure washer (bean pump)
  • The length of the nozzle can be adjusted to meet job requirements
  • 110 degrees range of vertical movement allows washing of the roof, walls, and floor without removing the ROV to change or re-adjust the cannon

5. Tank Cleaning ROC

A ROC (Remote Operated Crawler) is a Rotary Submersible Pump that provides the same benefit as a tank sweep by pumping wastewater through your manway. However, unlike a Tank Sweep, the ROC doesn't need to be inserted into the manway. Instead, it attaches invisibly from the exterior side of your tank. This allows for easy access and better visibility of your tank walls.

ROCs strip pipes, inside and outside the tanks and even rubber lining while being operated remotely.


Some benefits of using ROCs include:

  • A ROC reduces or eliminates the need for additional wastewater treatment or storage and reduces unnecessary trips through pumps and separators.
  • ROCs are also beneficial because they require less maintenance than a centrifuge and can be installed in locations that cannot accommodate large equipment.

6. SRS (Solids Reduction System)

The SRS is a pressure injection system that injects pressurized water through your camera manway to remove sludge and rust from the tank walls. Unlike a Tank Sweep, which must be inserted into the manway, the SRS attaches invisibly from the exterior side of your tank. The SRS can also be used to blast debris from the exterior of your tank.


Some benefits of using a Solids Reduction System include:

  • This technology simultaneously fluidizes and extracts waste material through any valve 6 inches or larger with no tank entry required
  • Waste material can be drawn from the tank in minutes
  • Easy to operate as they may be self-leveling using hydraulic control valves and pin locks

7. Filter Press

A Filter Press is a system that allows your wastewater to slowly drip through a filtering device to separate sludge from water. Sludge builds up as your wastewater passes through the filters and is scraped off as it reaches the bottom of the tank.

The resulting mixture of oil and wastewater is drained into a separator to separate the two components again before release, hence reducing disposal costs.

Additional Services

Vapor Control

Eliminate over 99% of the VOCs with Thompson Industrial Services’ 15M BTU Thermal Oxidizer, keeping them from being released to the atmosphere. Learn more here:


The EPIC Extraction Pressure Impulse Cleaner is revolutionizing HRSG Cleaning. This off-line cleaning technology uses safe, effective and directly targeted pressure-wave impulse cleaning energy to remove deposits deep within and throughout tube bundles.

The patent-pending cleaning procedure that is employed systematically concentrates its affect just to the fouled tube sections, with no indiscriminate blasting impact to the surrounding area, nor mechanical fatigue to the tubes or superstructure.


Remove dirt and debris safely and thoroughly with FINFOAM®’s low pressure, high volume cleaning process. 

About Thompson Industrial Services

Thompson Industrial Services provides life-cycle cleaning solutions for industrial and commercial customers. Their mission is to provide the safest and highest quality industrial cleaning services – with integrity and the relentless pursuit of value for their customers, their teammates, and their shareholders.

In addition to these services, Thompson Industrial Services has the ability to custom-engineer the perfect tank-cleaning solution for your business. By custom-designing tank cleaning solutions uniquely tailored to your needs, Thompson Industrial Services is able to provide a more effective, more efficient service — reducing downtime and increasing productivity. 

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