Periodical and Reactive Fuel Tank Cleaning

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Nick Saunders

Operations Manager at J.W Hinchliffe Tanks

Periodical and Reactive Fuel Tank Cleaning
The reasons for fuel tank cleaning can be in response to either a contamination issue, or simply to be pro-active in ensuring that your fuel stocks remain in good condition. This particular case came from a tank cleaning client who first approached us around two years ago to perform fuel tank cleaning on some underground tanks that were redundant. On this occasion, the diesel tank is situated on one of their 30+ forecourts and is crucial to the continued running of the garage. The tank has had been suffering from a sludge contamination issue, with dispensing filters blocking on a regular basis, causing disruption to the operation. We were informed that water tests had been carried out on the tank and that water was not found, however this had been conducted from the dispensing pumps and not in the tank itself. In addition to the water tests, additives had been introduced into the tank to try and alleviate the problem. Whilst additives can certainly help to reduce the level of contaminants found in fuel stocks, there comes a point where fuel tank cleaning simply cannot be beaten to ensure the operation runs smoothly.

Accessing the tank.

The tank that required cleaning is over 20 years old with quite a restrictive access chamber leading to the fill and dispensing pipework. However with a little cleaning, the correct tools and some perseverance, even the most awkward of tank lids can usually be disconnected and removed without the need to cut through any pipework. This allows the team to begin preparations to carry out the fuel tank cleaning process.

Cleaning the tank.

The level of contamination in the tank was high, with approx 150 kilos of sludge being removed, along with approx 30 litres of water. The issue with this tank as you can see from the picture above is that the water is residing at the side of the striker plate so wouldn’t be removed even if a probe was put down the fill pipe. That water will then continue to support micro-biological growth, which results in downtime for the operator. The fuel tank cleaning process on this particular site began at approx 8am, with a small area of the site cordoned off to exclude the general public. The tank was open by 10am, any residual fuel (approx 500 litres in this case) had been removed, and the fuel tank cleaning procedure was well under way. By 1pm, the tank had been fully cleaned and inspected with the lid replaced. In addition to proving the fuel tank cleaning service, we are able to offer a full on-site fuel testing suite, fuel polishing and tank testing to ensure you are left with peace of mind that your operation is clean and up to scratch. To read more about our underground tank cleaning services, please click here. Alternatively, please feel free to call us directly on 01132 635163 where you can speak to someone directly about fuel tank cleaning. Email us at [email protected] or fill out our contact form here. Information about our trade memberships such as the APEA can be found here.
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