Tank Wizards Avert Fuel Contamination With a Gallon of Prevention
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Tank Wizards Avert Fuel Contamination With a Gallon of Prevention

For most things in life, prevention is far better than a cure. Such is the case for fuel tanks. Without regular inspections and maintenance, owners of these tanks risk:

  • The malfunction of what may be critically needed equipment.
  • The ire of enforcers of strict government regulations.
  • A potentially catastrophic environmental hazard.

On average, fuel tanks can last a good three decades, but only if they are well maintained. In addition to inspections for corrosion, discharges and other deterioration, a critical part of maintenance is ensuring the fuel stored within the tank remains clean. Fuel cleaning, aka fuel polishing, is definitely not a DIY project, for stored fuel is both toxic and flammable, making cleaning a dangerous operation unless performed by experienced professionals certified in safety procedures and EPA standards.

Unless tanks are tested and treated on a regular basis, contamination of stored fuel — whether diesel or gasoline — is pretty much inevitable, even if fuel in these tanks is rotated regularly. In as little as six months, fuel begins to degrade, and water, impurities, sand, soil, heavy metal salts and other contaminants eventually settle to the bottom and sides of tanks, creating a thick sludge of sediment that increases with time. This clogs filters and put engines at risk. It’s a real concern, as research has noted that fuel-related issues are the primary cause of engine failure. 

An on-site fuel analysis determines the exact composition of the contamination in preparation for fuel polishing — the technical term given to the removal of this contamination. 

Fuel polishing is only part of the picture, however. I tell our customers at Tank Wizards that polishing the fuel without cleaning the tank is akin to putting fresh milk in a soured jug. Fuel tank cleaning and fuel polishing in combination is much more cost-effective and ecologically responsible than fuel disposal and replacement.

We typically clean the tank and treat fuel at the same time, beginning with fuel sampling for microbial, bacteria and fungal growth. We add a broad-spectrum microbicide to the fuel to kill the organisms and filter it to a size of 5 microns or smaller, which separates water and other contaminants from the fuel, before we rebuild the fuel by adding cetane boosters, lubricity agents, oxygen scavengers, fuel stabilizers and corrosion inhibitors. 

A second test after polishing will confirm that the problem has been corrected and a subsequent maintenance schedule will ascertain that the fuel remains clean so the equipment it fuels operates properly. 

Tank cleaning and fuel testing not only keeps hardware purring, but it also addresses regulatory concerns. The Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and the National Fire Protection Association require strict compliance with regulations that require tanks and fuel be tested and maintained. 

Repairing or replacing equipment affected by a contaminated tank can cost thousands of dollars. Malfunction of equipment can even make for a life-or-death situation in facilities like hospitals, firehouses and nursing homes. Prevention is a far, far better answer.

For more information, visit tankwizards.com or call 321-285-8878.

From the Archives

Meet Our Thought Leader

Wendall Stroderd is the founder and president of Tank Wizards Inc., founded in 2012. Tank Wizards is a Florida-based company that started in fuel tank cleaning, fuel filtration and fuel maintenance and has since grown into being a full-service petroleum solutions contractor.

Wendall works closely with regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, to not only understand and implement the most stringent interpretations of today’s codes and standards but to be a hands-on asset and source of information for refining and improving practices and policies for the future.

Though Tank Wizards serves the private and government sectors in all areas of bulk fuel storage needs, the vast majority of the work performed by Tank Wizards is directly connected to Fuel Quality Assurance in the critical needs applications of Emergency Standby Power Systems. This specialization has led to the development of testing and tank cleaning procedures not found elsewhere.

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