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.

____ 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 provided.

____ 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: 25 August 2017