Microbe Infestation In Diesel Tanks: Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments

Posted on: 12 February 2016

Your diesel depot is one of the most respected in the nation, but you're concerned about a problem you heard about through the grapevine: microbe infestation in diesel tanks. This serious issue is hard to spot, but it creates serious concerns in trucks that use your diesel. In fact, it can cause truckers to avoid your depot and give your business a bad name. Here's what you need to know about this issue.

Where Diesel Microbes Originate

Microbe (including bacteria, mold, and fungus) infestation in diesel tanks is a complex problem and one that is somewhat inherent to the fuel. Diesel contains trace amounts of water, high levels of carbon, oxygen, and sulfur: this gives hardy and adaptable microbes plenty of fuel for their growth.

That said, infestation isn't inherent in diesel tanks: it usually occurs if there is excess air or moisture in the tank. This excessive air and moisture usually occurs during improper tank filling (such as not fully sealing the hoses, which lets in air) or when the tanks expand or contrast. That growth and retraction of tanks is minute, but even a small amount may warp delicate areas (such as the filling spigot) and allow in trace amounts of oxygen and water.

Symptoms Of Infestation

If your diesel storage tanks are infested with microbes, the easiest way to tell is to look at how it interferes with the trucks that use your fuel. Your tank isn't likely to show many symptoms, but trucks using bacteria-infected fuel are going to suffer from a variety of serious symptoms, including:

  • Quicker wear in rings and cylinders
  • The need to replace filters and fuel injectors more frequently
  • Fuel consumption skyrockets
  • Black exhaust
  • Increased oil consumption
  • Disgusting fuel smell in exhaust

Another symptom of infestation is how quickly your diesel degrades from "fresh" to poor ratings. Fresh diesel should have a shelf life of 3-6 months in storage before it is considered degraded by EPA tests. However, bacteria and fungal infestations will more quickly degrade its quality. So if the EPA or any other fuel testing company declares your fuel "out of spec" (no longer fresh) after only a month or two, you have a problem.

Controlling This Problem

Although microbe infestation is hard to spot, proper control procedures make it much easier to handle. The biggest thing you need to do is get as much water out of your tank system as possible. Start by regularly draining the pipework connected to your spigot. This requires locating the water-release valve under your tank, turning it open, and letting excessive water drain out.

Steam-cleaning your diesel tank is another option, as it will kill all microbes and get your tank clean again. This procedure is most commonly used in diesel trucks, but it can be performed on storage tanks.

Performing these simple steps will help eliminate microbes from your diesel depot tanks and ensure that you don't infest trucks in your area. Going that extra step will increase your business' reputation and likely cause more truckers to fill up with you.

For more information, visit websites like http://unitedoil.net.