Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fuel Storage Tank Maintenance - Keep It Clean

Keep It Clean - Fuel Storage Tank Maintenance


Most owners and operators of fuel storage tanks do not understand that maintenance is required to safely and successfully operate fuel storage tanks.

We constantly hear that customers have tanks that have never been cleaned and worse yet, that they believe that they never need to check to see if they have any problems.

This is made even worse by the information that some fuel suppliers tell their customers; for example that it OK to have some water at the bottom of the tank.

Well here is some real world information for everyone on this subject.

Fuel Storage Tanks all require regular maintenance. They are designed with the pickup tube 3" to 6" from the tank bottom so that small amounts of water, sediment and other contaminants have a space they can settle out so that they will not be drawn into the vehicle or equipment tanks as fuel is pumped out. This water and sediment material will accumulate over time and will cause problems if not removed periodically.

Some will tell you that 1/2" or 1" or even 2" of water is alright, and they are flat out wrong. Every time fuel is transferred into that tank it stirs up all that material and it may take as long as a day for it to settle out again. In the meantime every tank you dispense fuel into gets some of this material.

If you have a steel tank that water is corroding your tank from the inside out and putting rust particles into your fuel. We often find above ground tanks only a few years old that have rusted from the inside to the point of leaking from water and sludge in the tank.

Many customers have electronic monitoring systems that provide constant readings showing fuel level, water level, and leak detection. Some of these customers will see 1/2" or a few gallons of water on these system and ignore it because they have been told it is not important.

One problem we see time and again is that the sensors on these monitoring systems fail and they don't tell you when they fail, they just go on showing the last reading forever. This goes on until they start pumping water into their equipment at which point someone checks the tank with a stick and water finding paste only find that they actually have several inches of water.

We have told all of our customers for many years that even though you have spent several thousand dollars for a state of the art monitoring system, you still need to have some one check every tank at least once a month with a stick and water finding paste.

And this rule should be written next to the monitor and maybe next to where you store the measuring stick: "The Only Acceptable Amount of Water in Any Fuel Storage Tank is ZERO (0)".

For those of your with in-ground steel tanks, these tanks have Sacrificial Anodes attached to them. These Anodes take the weak electrical current generated by the tank and pass it into the ground through them. This prevents the tank metal from corroding, however the Anode "Sacrifices" itself in this process. The Anode is used up over a period of time. When the Anode is "used up" the tank begins to corrode often very quickly. Tank owners should periodically check these Anodes and Replace them as necessary. In many states this is part of the required maintenance and testing procedures, however you should know this and check to be certain it has been properly done.

Caps, Sumps, and Vents should all be checked for integrity and to see that they are doing their intended job.

Fuel Storage is a vital link in getting clean fresh fuel safely and efficiently into vehicles and equipment. You have a big investment in the tank, its installation, and in the fuel in it. It only makes sense to properly maintain and protect this investment.

Today we have new challenges with Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), Biodiesel, Gasohol, Conventional Gasoline, and Reformulated Gasoline containing any amount of Ethanol. These fuel products hold much higher levels of water and are much more corrosive than fuels we have traditionally dealt with. They require much higher levels of monitoring and maintenance to have a safe and trouble free delivery system.

We are happy to offer analysis and suggestions on how to operate and maintain your systems.

Please post your comments or questions here.

Diesel Doctor

27 comments:

  1. 3 to 6 inches for your sub pump dangerous, place the pump 8 to 10 inches above the bottom to give extra leway in case of problems

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  2. Much more than a reference, The Gas station Manual provides up-to-date source materials... Thanks for that! fuel storage tanks

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  3. Storage Tank- Manufacturer, Supplier and Exporter of Storage tanks in Delhi, India provides water storage tanks, pressure vessel, hot water storage tanks, propane storage tanks, plastic water storage tanks, fuel storage tanks, cold water storage tanks and deals in all Delhi/NCR (Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Chandigarh), India.

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  5. Oh Thank you so much for your post! You've just given me an idea how Tank Maintenance important is.

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  6. This product is very useful and i used this product.....this product reduces more resource and do work easy....

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  7. Storage Tank- Manufacturer, Supplier and Exporter of Storage tanks in Delhi, India provides water storage tanks, pressure vessel, hot water storage tanks, propane storage tanks, plastic water storage tanks, fuel storage tanks, cold water storage tanks and deals in all Delhi/NCR (Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Chandigarh), India.

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  8. Storage Tank- Manufacturer, Supplier and Exporter of Storage tanks in Delhi, India provides water storage tanks, pressure vessel, hot water storage tanks, propane storage tanks, plastic water storage tanks, fuel storage tanks, cold water storage tanks and deals in all Delhi/NCR (Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Chandigarh), India.

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  9. A fuel storage tank does need maintenance every once in a while. Having water in the fuel tank can cause a lot of negative effects. It can rust the interior of the fuel tank, clog up the lines, foul the fuel filter, ruin the electric fuel pump (if your tank has any) and get mixed with the gas alcohol level. The effects may not be evident early on, but it would certainly affect the tank in the long run.

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  10. Thanks for posting !! Open plastic storage tanks store huge liquid material for your comfort.

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  11. I can't imagine why people wouldn't want to do maintenance on their fuel tanks. The stuff they are storing is a hazardous material. You want to make sure that the safety and quality of your tank is assured. It just makes sense.

    Anita Mas | http://wottablastservices.com.au/industrialcleaningservices

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  13. We have a couple of diesel storage tanks where I work and I don't think we have been maintaining them how we should be. This advice is like a wake up call! We are getting some new smaller tanks and it will be the perfect opportunity to get everyone together and go over the care and maintenance of all our tanks and I will see if we can get a rep from the store to give us a quick lesson. http://www.miniquip.com.au/diesel/adblue-tanks-and-transfer-equipment

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  14. we offer pump off services to dispose of any fuel that you cannot use. This includes gasoline, diesel and jet propulsion fuel.Fuel storage tank cleaning is one of the most important things an owner or operator of an underground or above ground fuel storage tank can do to keep their fuel performing properly.

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  21. Great blog- good information!--I have a question about long term fuel storage. I have two horizontal storage tanks, each 330 gallons. One gasoline and one diesel. Both sloped to drain well. Both with flow pressure and vacuum relief vents.- I am curious about the viability of after drawing fuel, hooking a 20 lb. propane bottle to the tank and injecting propane thru the fuel. I read on another site where this will help revitalize aged fuel and replace volatiles lost in age and evaporation.--I believe this process would also help displace the air with its humidity out the vent as the propane is heavier than the air.--Addressing safety concerns, the tanks are vented, and the propane fed thru a regulator with just enough pressure to flow enough volume to displace the air volume with no danger of over pressuring the fuel tank.--Would this benefit both diesel and gasoline?--Currently I use enough out of these tanks to keep it well rotated, and I add PRI-D and PRI-G when refilling the tanks, I would just like to know if this would work if the fuel sat for long periods of time.---Thank You!

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