An older lead-lined steel tank (diameter: 8 m, height: 9 m, bottom thickness: 8 mm, shell thickness: 5-7 mm) containing 450 m³ of phosphoric acid burst at a chemical facility. The acid wave destroyed the reinforced concrete retention basin (with a combined core and wall thickness of between 10 and 15 cm). An in-house inspection had detected considerable corrosion on a generator and led to requesting a thickness verification. The maintenance team proceeded by locally reinforcing the tank (6-mm polyester layer, etc.) without actually performing the requested controls. The proper works sequencing procedure was not respected and consideration was not given to the fact that this site had been programmed to shut down over the near term. The strength loss subsequently detected, related to a localized leak in the lead lining, affected 4/5th of total tank height. No serious environmental impact was observed. An emergency order was issued, and all site personnel were reminded of applicable procedures and informed of the inspectors’ guidelines.

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