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Treat your fuel storage tank well and it will return the favor

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

Getting quality fuel that’s in-spec only means you're halfway home when you're considering stored fuel quality.  The storage tank you put it in has its own set of issues that you need to stay on top of, if you don't want those to unduly affect the fuel you're putting into it.  

fuel_problems_in_storage_tanks.jpgPay Attention

Pay attention to both the storage tank and the fuel once inside.

For the tank, you want to keep it topped off whenever possible, and regularly monitored for presence of water.  You should be checking for water on a monthly basis at a minimum.  Controlling water buildup protects the fuel against microbial growth and protects the tank from corrosion.

For the fuel, you want to make sure you know its “operability values”, especially with respect to cold flow.  You should be able to tell this from the COA you would have retained from each fuel drop.

Part of paying proper attention may also involve periodic testing. The condition of stored fuel changes over time, so it is worth your while to consider analytical lab testing of your stored fuel periodically. That way, you can know its condition for sure.

Fix It When Needed

Many are the old storage tanks that have rusted tops and parts that leak water when it rains.  Then people wonder how water got into the tank.  It’s a lot more common than you might think.

Fill/vapor caps and gaskets are parts that need to be serviced regularly. You should inspect those parts for damage and replace them when needed. 

Good Preventive Ideas

Fuel gelling is a real issue in northern climates.  For tanks exposed to the outdoor cold, consider installing a combination of heaters, line insulation and tank mixers. Combine these with cold flow fuel treatment and you’ll have your best chance of minimizing cold weather operability issues for the fuel in that tank.

It’s also a good idea to consider installing some type of dessicant (water-absorber) on tank vent pipes. This can help control the level of moisture buildup in the tank.

Periodic Cleaning Is A Necessary Evil

Given enough tank, all storage tanks need to be cleaned. It’s part of best practice maintenance.  Seeking out and maintaining a relationship with a qualified partner will take this out of your hands and allow you to focus on more direct issues in your business.

It’s worth your while to do a little consideration of your fuel storage tanks if you want to minimize headaches down the road.

You may be interested in these other posts regarding fuel storage:

Are You Fuel Ready? The Checklist


This post was published on February 4, 2016 and was updated on March 31, 2017.

Topics: Fuel Storage, Fuel and Tank Services