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Bell Fuel and Tank Services

Fuel-Pulse: Microbe Testing For Stored Fuels - The Essentials

Beyond essential chemical and physical tests for fuel properties, Fuel-Pulse customers also have access to state-of-the-art microbial testing services that really give them an advantage in fuel monitoring and care.

Because of the ways today’s stored fuels differ from just a few years ago, microbial testing and monitoring are vital to keeping on top of the most damaging single element in the universe of fuel storage.

Regular monitoring of microbial counts in the fuel, bottom water and storage tanks are best practices for anyone to enable sound decision making on how and when to take action in the course of ensuring their stored fuel stays sound.

Sounds complicated? Not for Fuel-Pulse customers.

Microbial Presence Testing For Fuel: What Can It Tell You?

Fuel-Pulse customers also get guidance on the really important question of what to do if their stored fuel has a microbe problem?  Not knowing what to do puts stored fuel managers at risk for serious consequences.

TANK CORROSION – from the strong and weak acids produced by microbes. And you can get corrosion damage both above and below the fuel line.

FUEL DEGRADATION – because microbes consume and break down elements of the fuel, reducing its storage viability.

BIOMASS FORMATION AND FILTER PLUGGING – because microbes produce organic biomass substances that plug up filters and stick to tank surfaces. At the least, they’re a hassle, but at worst, they can be a cause of wasted time and resources (if you have bad filter plugging problems), not to mention subpar engine performance.

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT FAILURE –If the fuel quality has been destroyed and there are deposits and biomass contaminating the fuel, it places real doubts on whether the emergency equipment can properly function on-demand, using that fuel.

This last one is the really big one. It’s the one that many of these entities fear the most. Not having the confidence that they can do what they need to do whenever they need to.

Microbial Presence In Stored Fuel: Serious Implications For All Sectors

In terms of the implications of microbial presence, critical groups like Government entities and hospitals worry about this a lot.  They both must be able to provide services to their constituents no matter what. In the case of hospitals, it’s so important, they are required to keep their fuel in spec by yearly testing, according to ACHA regulations.

Yet, these AHCA regulations don’t specifically require a microbial presence test. All they require is what’s on the D-975 regulation.  And this could be a problem because if microbes get involved, the problem becomes a lot more difficult and serious to take care of. Without microbial presence testing, it’s impossible to know when this point is.

For generator users, they have the same kind of concerns about reliability because many of these generators have a mission-critical function.  

Fuel polishers and generator service companies are also at risk of the effects of the microbes causing huge problems that they potentially can get blamed for.

Microbe problems have serious implications for all of these groups and more. This is why the Fuel-Pulse program was created, and why Fuel-Pulse offers next-gen ATP Microbial Testing for all of its customers. It’s the best way to solve these problems and keep them away.

Microbial Presence Testing – More Options Than Ever Before (But Are They All Good?)

Microbial presence in stored fuel that serves any kind of critical function is not something you want to mess around with, especially since diesel fuels have changed in the ways they have.

It used to be that the only options for confirming a microbial problem was to send fuel samples off to a lab and wait up to 28 days for culture results to come back – which doesn’t do anyone any real good.  Those days are behind us. There are more in-house options than ever before, making it easier for stored fuel managers to include microbial monitoring in their regular fuel housekeeping. All of these options are not, however, created equal. And they may have significant downsides that limit their practical usefulness.

CULTURE STRIPS (also called Dip Slides)  

·        Simple to use

·        Relatively inexpensive

·        Only gives a Yes/No answer (which limits their usefulness)

·        Takes 3-5 days for results

INDICATOR TESTS (FuelStat, MicrobeMonitor, LiquiCult)

·        Some versions give a semi-quantitative indication of the level of infection

·        More expensive than culture strips

·        Some take 3-5 days for results while others (FuelStat) give faster results within 10 minutes

·        Costs vary; some indicators can cost $100-$150 per test

The speed of results is an important consideration for these tests.  A microbe test that takes days to give results really limit your ability to make real-time decisions on what to do.  Especially if the test doesn’t even give you an exact answer, forcing you to make important decisions from limited information.

ATP Microbial Testing – Diagnostic Testing That Meets the Fuel-Pulse Standard

The Fuel-Pulse program centers on helping stored fuel users make the right decisions for them. When it comes to the critical issue of diagnosing and fixing microbial contamination in stored fuel, it’s clear that ATP Microbial Testing is the only testing that meets the high Fuel-Pulse standard of excellence.

ATP Microbial Testing from Fuel-Pulse gives the user an exact measurement of the microbial levels in their fuel and tank, and it does it in just minutes.

ATP Microbial Testing is next-gen technology that detects the presence and amount of microbial ATP in a sample, giving you an exact number of microbes in your fuel.  There’s no guess work involved. Results are generated in less than 5 minutes, making them extremely useful for monitoring both ongoing and situational microbial levels – the kind condition monitoring that Fuel-Pulse customers have access to.

This combination of fast action and an accurate microbe count means fuel managers can actually baseline and monitor their fuel condition and see microbe problems coming before they get serious.  How valuable is that? (Hint – really valuable)

ATP Microbial Testing is an essential part of the Fuel-Pulse program, giving specific measurements and quick turnaround that allow for meaningful trending of the storage tank's conditions over time, to help determine each tank's specific fingerprint.