Changing bulk tanks or adding a second bulk tank?

Use this checklist to ensure you have considered some important things that need to be done when installing a larger bulk tank ('tank') or second bulk tank in your milk house.

Planning Ahead

  • Inform OMAFRA of the bulk tank change. A second tank will require a specific identification number supplied by OMAFRA for milk sample identification purposes.
  • Inform OMAFRA of the date the tank will be changed or added. OMAFRA staff will verify that the tank and installation meet regulatory requirements before the tank may be used.
  • The bulk tank must be at least 60 cm (2 feet) from the wall or any fixed object such as another bulk tank, a sink or a hot water tank. Free space around the bulk tank allows for cleaning and milk pickup.
  • The outlet end of the bulk tank should be located near the hose port with at least 120 cm (4 feet) of space from the wall to allow the bulk tank milk grader (BTMG) to attach the transfer hose.
  • In some instances a second hose port may be required. Keep in mind that milk transporters carry a limited length of milk transfer hose. The location of the bulk tank and the hose port must allow for easy access by the BTMG for connecting the milk transfer hose to the bulk tank.
  • The trapped milk house floor drain must be at least 60 cm (2 feet) from the bulk tank outlet and not under the tank. If the drain location needs to be changed it likely means breaking concrete, re-pouring and sloping the floor to the drain.
  • Upgrading to a larger bulk tank may also mean you need a larger hot water tank. Large bulk tanks use considerable amounts of hot water.
  • If a ladder to the bulk tank hatch is not in place, a cleanable dedicated ladder or step stool is required.
  • The bulk tank hatch must be easy to open with sufficient space for the BTMG to inspect and sample the milk as well as read the dipstick.
  • Milk house lighting must be properly located to permit the BTMG to visually grade and measure the milk. Ensure lights in the milk house are protected by shatterproof covers or coatings.

Tank Change Day

  • Contact your milk broker or transporter and request the earliest milk collection time possible. The bulk tank change day is a busy day for the producer and equipment dealer so the more time you have to get it done, the better.
  • The new bulk tank must be leveled and calibrated by your equipment dealer before use and a written record that certifies that the tank has been calibrated to the chart must be provided to OMAFRA.
  • A larger bulk tank will require your equipment dealer to update the wash procedures chart.
  • Any wall panels or doors that are removed to facilitate moving tanks need to be put back in place promptly.
  • In many instances the bulk tank agitator shaft needs to be lowered to ensure the first milking agitates.
  • If a long handle sampling dipper is needed, contact your dealer to obtain one. It is the producer's responsibility to have a clean dipper available for the BTMG. Speak to an OMAFRA raw milk specialist about procedures for using and maintaining dippers.

Bulk heading

As farm sizes and milk production increase, larger bulk tanks have become more common on dairy farms. Many modern milk house designs incorporate installations of larger bulk tanks that extend through a wall ('bulkheading'). Bulk heading to a separate indoor location (such as a utility room) is acceptable provided the room is maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. For bulk headed tanks:

  • The breather needs to be inside the milk house.
  • Openings between the wall and the tank must be tightly sealed as soon as possible to prevent pests and debris from entering the milk house. This is a tricky job and a skilled carpenter is recommended.
  • Additional protection around the agitator gasket is recommended to prevent contamination.

If bulkheading a tank to the outdoors, footings must be in place to prevent frost from moving the tank.

Figure 1: Free space around the bulk tank allows for cleaning and milk pickup

Free space around the bulk tank allows for cleaning and milk pickup


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Mike Foran - Dairy Food Safety Program - Food Inspection Branch/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 01 August 2016
Last Reviewed: 04 July 2018