Cleaning common fluid lines

Process control authority Bela Liptak answers a reader's question regarding how to clean out common lines without a whole bunch of solvents and/or pigging systems.


WE HAVE a project that we are looking at that involves loading bulk tanker trucks with specialty oil and water based products from a tank farm some distance away from the storage area ( 250 ft) and are trying to figure out a way to minimize dedicating a line and pump to each tank through the use of a header system and valving and a common line(s) to the load out area.

The issue then is that the line(s) have to be cleaned out after the transfer of product before the next one can be run through the common line(s). How do we clean out this common line without a whole bunch of automation and solvents and/or pigging systems? Any suggestions?

Dennis Gidley


IT SEEMS to me that all you need is to install manual 3-way valves at both the tanks on the suction side of the common pump and manual 3-way valves at each truck. When the loading of a truck is completed, the 3-way valves can be manually switched from their “load” to their “clean” position. In this mode, the common pump takes the cleaning fluid from the tank farm to the truck loading area and thereby cleans the header and the cleaning fluid is returned to a used cleaner fluid tank.

Béla G. Lipták, P.E.


  Need an Expert Opinion?
Send your knotty control and automation questions to Béla Lipták at Lipták will either answer the questions himself or bring in specialists from his cadre of Instrument Engineer’s Handbook, Fourth Edition co-authors. Questions and answers will be published online on Each month, Lipták will pick the best question, and publish it, along with the answer in CONTROL. If your question is chosen, a prize will be awarded.
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