Metal is subject to corrosion, so if you are storing fuel on-site, you have to be ready to deal with this issue. In 2013, the EPA imposed new fuel storage rules, and since then, rates of storage tank corrosion (or detection of corrosion) have increased. The following can help your company understand the link between fuel tank quality and fuel quality.
How does fuel quality affect storage tanks?
The increased corrosion rates follow a trend that was ongoing before the new EPA rules. At this point, experts are still working through the science of storage tank corrosion and its impact on fuel quality. For example, it is commonly known that high sulfur fuels are linked to storage tank corrosion. It is believed this is because high sulfur fuels have low resistance to microbes. Another link is an increase in ethanol contamination in fuel storage tanks.
One thing you should watch for is an increased content of biodiesel in your fuel. Per EPA rules, anything less than 5 percent does not have to be disclosed by sellers. Recent studies have found that biodiesel has been making up more of diesel in the industry, composing an average of 4.46 percent in 2018. That is an increase from 2014 when it was estimated to be at 2.14 percent and 2015 when it was 3.19 percent.
Protecting above-ground storage tanks through testing
The best way to prevent fuel storage tank corrosion and leaks is through regularly scheduled testing. Your company should develop a plan, procedures, and schedule to test for issues and address them. However, you shouldn’t rely on the government to tell you when to test your tanks, because they have no standard schedule. There are two tests you should conduct: fuel sample and tank integrity.
Fuel sample testing requires you to look at the water content in the fuel. Over time, water can decrease the effectiveness of fuel and reduce the power of motors. Also, water can contribute to microbial growth in your tanks, accelerating corrosion.
Second, integrity tests involve visual tests to check for leaks and other issues. The type of tank you use will dictate the type of visual test you should undertake. It would help if you conducted walkarounds and visual inspections regularly, looking for signs of leaks like stains on the ground.
Protecting below-ground fuel tanks
Underground storage is both safer and more dangerous at the same time. It is safer from vandals and other external issues, but also make it more difficult to detect leaks. The trick to locating underground tank leaks is through pressure testing. This testing involves tracking the pressure of the tank over a period of time and looking for variances.
You can also test the soil for potential leaks. All you have to do is gather soil samples and send them to a laboratory for testing to see if there is contamination. Finally, if you think the situation is more serious, you can use ground penetrating radar or ultrasound to create an image of the tank.
If you detect a leak, it is important that you deal with it as soon as possible. Leaks that contaminate ground soil can result in significant fines, endangering the environment and your company. Also, if the leaks begin affecting groundwater, it becomes a health hazard for the entire community.
Looking for high-quality bulk fuel and tank monitoring?
At Kendrick Oil, we distribute a wide variety of wholesale fuels, including diesel and regular gas. If you would like to learn more about fuel Products and Services and how we can work with you, give us a call at (800) 299-3991. You can also Contact Us by email for more information. We have locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Louisiana.