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Can You Prevent Microbial Infestation in Your Fuel Tanks?

Through the years, the face of on-farm fuel storage has inevitably undergone dramatic changes. Fuel tanks nowadays were designed, structured, and built with much-improved safety features. 

Aside from this, they are now much more efficient in as far as containing and safe-keeping your high-value liquids. However, one important aspect that has not changed so far is their upkeep. Keeping proper maintenance practices is of prime importance when it comes to protecting your high-value liquid. 

fuel tanks

Even if this kind of occurrences seldom happen and are limited, diesel fuel microbial and bacterial contamination are likely to create pressing challenges to fuel tank owners and care-takers including: 

  • Clogged filter systems
  • Injector malfunctions
  • Issues on fuel flow
  • Accelerated corrosion rate
  • Reduced combustion efficiency  

Microbial Growth

Fungus and bacteria growth is a dreaded occurrence in the fuel containment industry because they induce trouble, and so much will be at stake whenever microbial growth and contamination happens. 

Microbial growth can be anticipated to happen when diesel fuel and the water element temperature in your storage tank is anywhere between 10C to 40C. Fungal spores and bacteria from fuel tank’s surrounding soil will likely find their way to your storage tank via its vent system. They can also find their way to your fuel containment systems through contamination, which happens when refilling your tank. 

Water vapor condensation within your tank is likely to create suitable thriving conditions for microbes. Alongside this, it also promotes microbial growth and this can be observed usually at the fuel-water interface, found at the bottom part of the tank.  

The combination of biomass production and microbial growth will pave the way for the appearance of dark slime algae. Some folks would blithely liken this to the appearance of a dark chocolate mousse, a not so pleasing sight to look at I must say. Under severe conditions, this dark goo will just accumulate at the bottom part of your storage tank. Eventually, this would engender a manifold of problems to the tank walls itself, its filter systems, and will also badly impact your fuel quality and integrity.  

How to Prevent Contamination in Fuel Tanks? 

One of the surefire ways that will help keep microbial growth in fuel storage tanks at bay is to put a limit on the amount of water that gets in your tank. Initially, you need to conduct regular inspections on the bottom part of your tank. You can decrease the frequency for this for as long as you see that there is no water found in your fuel containment systems. 

Check your liquid storage tank for the presence of water and see to it that you observe this at least two times a year.  

Most fuel storage systems are equipped with a mechanical drain feature or drain plugs. Use them for this purpose alone, and they are strategically located right at the bottom part of your tank. If you have an underground storage system instead, see to it that there is not the slightest possibility for water leakage to occur to it. Therefore, exhaust all possible measures to keep or prevent water leakage from taking place.  

When trying to look for a fuel storage tank, see to it that products of this type that you will purchase do have enough vents and an adequate amount of filter system. These features are vital to preventing fungal spores and bacteria from entering your tank. 

Maintenance, inspection and periodic tank cleaning are essential to keeping your fuel tank in tip-top shape, all the time. Another surefire way to control or delay the growth of microbes and fungus in your tank is by the use of approved fuel preservative products. The frequency in which you can use such kind of treatment will have to depend on the speed or the rate of build-up of microbial growth.  

If you are suspecting that your fuel containment system is on the verge of contamination, the best course of action you should take is to know where you could submit your fuel samples for further testing. After this, you will be given several remediation options that will put a stop to it.