Do you store diesel fuel at your facility? Read this article to make sure you’re not inadvertently allowing water into your tanks.
Problem: Water in storage container
How does it get in?
Water can enter your storage container as either liquid or gas. Liquid water enters through an access point such as a hole or an opening. Water vapor enters through air and condenses on the inside of the container.
Why is this a problem?
When water comes into contact with the surface of a container, it causes the metal to rust. This corrosion can eat holes in metal, resulting in leaks. Rust particles can also clog filters and engine parts. Additionally, microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and mold can grow on the water-fuel interface. A large amount of this bio-growth can clog filters and engine parts and produce acidic byproducts, accelerating corrosion of metal container walls.
How can I tell if I’m affected by these issues?
Water is denser than diesel fuel and therefore may form a layer on the bottom of the container where it can be difficult to see from above, so it may be hard to tell. But water that is suspended will form droplets, causing the fuel to appear hazy or milky. Bio-growth may appear at the water-fuel interface or on the surfaces of the container. It will resemble a dark film or algae. Corrosion appears as rust on container surfaces or as rust suspended within the fuel.
How do I avoid and deal with this?
Prevention is the best strategy for avoiding water contamination and its by-products. Monitoring for potential access points and storing the unit in an area where it will not experience drastic temperature changes or high humidity levels are good first steps. If you do notice water in a container, make sure to drain the water from the bottom of the container regularly. A water dispersing additive can be used to prevent the buildup of water at the bottom of the unit. Biocides can be also be added to kill any microorganisms growing in the unit. (But if a thick layer of biofilm has already formed, you may need to drain the container and clean it manually.) Corrosion inhibitors are another additive to be considered. Lastly, maintain a high level of fuel in the container to limit the amount of exposed metal surface.
Call Walden today to make sure you’re not allowing fuel contamination to take place.
Have a comment about how you stay on top of proper diesel fuel practices? Leave it below. We’d love to hear about it! Missed Part I of this series? Read it here.