The key to consistently good performance with diesel tanks is proper, regular maintenance. If you haven’t considered your maintenance strategy recently, here’s what to keep in mind.
Fuel tank cleaning
The main enemies of diesel and other petroleum fuels are bacteria and water vapour. When water condenses in a fuel tank, it creates the conditions needed for microbial growth, and this can contaminate the fuel system. Contamination may lead to expensive repairs and downtime, and it’s highly noticeable when the fuel colour begins to change. Microbial growth in your tank can cause reduced efficiency, increased fuel component corrosion, plugged filters and other issues.
The periodic testing and sampling of fuel in a tank is important because problems can sometimes be minimized when they are caught early enough. Work with a professional petroleum services provider to get testing that adheres to all the standards and regulations in your area.
Fuel storage maintenance
When diesel fuel is being stored, it’s standard practice to minimize any exposure to water. Procedures that can help reduce any water accumulation potential include the routine discharge of any water bottoms and the insulation of fuel tanks, which helps to stabilize fuel temperatures.
In addition to these practices, any sludge in the fuel tanks must be removed on a consistent basis, and regular cleanings and inspections should be part of your facility’s routine.
In some cases, even with all the proactive maintenance steps listed above, stored fuel can become very contaminated with microbial growth. If this happens, the water bottoms and fuel have to be treated to control the overall infection. The removal of biomass from the system is also necessary.
A heavy concentration of microbial growth is generally treated at the shock level with a diesel fuel biocide after fuel clarification and the mechanical processing of the sludge, water bottoms and fuel has been completed. This is known as fuel “scrubbing and polishing.”
Any contaminated diesel fuel present in the tank has to be removed and de-watered. It’s then clarified using filtration and polished via a mixed media filtration system, such as diatomaceous earth or sand, with a fiber filter. The diesel fuel biocide is injected into the mechanically processed fuel’s clean steam.
The storage tank that has been contaminated is cleaned and sterilized before it is used again. This is crucial because if not cleaned properly, the microbial growth will still be present and grow to overcome the tank again at a later date. During the cleaning process, all residual material, including slime and sludge, is removed. At this time, the professional handling the cleaning will also inspect the tank interior and internal pipe fittings to identify any corrosion and ensure that lines are clean and everything functions properly.
A down diesel tank can cause you serious issues, money and time. Contact a professional petroleum services provider today to get your tank maintenance program into full swing.