To Test or Not to Test
Without testing, a fuel manager, operator or large diesel fuel user cannot determine whether a fuel system is contaminated or not with live micro-organisms, and if so at what level – Negligible, Moderate or Heavy. Without this knowledge, they are forced to treat the fuel systems periodically.
This strategy potentially involves the organisation in wasteful expenditure on biocide treatments and man power, which aren’t required. The development of biocide resistant organisms can occur even if the organisation regularly alternates the biocides it chooses. Without testing this resistance and therefore microbial growth may be progressing unchecked.
Conidia’s test is the only fast, accurate, on site test which supplies the levels of all 3 classes of organism in just 10 MINUTES. Though FUELSTAT™’s initial purchase price may be higher than some of its competitors, there is no investment requited in capital equipment, special skills or disposal.
Please see FAQ’s for test feature & benefit comparison table.
The factors to consider when assessing your fuel supply and storage risk include:
– Fuel Supply Conditions – supplier’s own fuel storage, delivery system and fuel cleanliness program.
– Climactic Conditions – high temperature and humidity accelerate microbial growth.
– Condensation – changes in temperature increase the risk of condensation. Free wall space in a half full tank allows moisture to build on the walls as condensation, which then runs down and forms as Free Water under the fuel on the bottom of the tank.
– Fuel Composition – the move towards lower sulphur fuels (often called ULSD – Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) with higher Biofuel content (for environmental reasons) increases the potential for microbial growth. Biodiesels are hydroscopic in nature, therefore draw in more moisture. Along with additional food sources, the risk of contamination is greatly increased.
– Pre-Existing Fuel System Health – the initial contamination level of the fuel system (tanks, fuel lines, filtration, delivery and engine reticulation systems) provide a baseline environment for further potential growth.
– Fuel Throughput – In the past higher throughput fuel systems were less likely to harbour undetected contamination. Usage would provide symptoms, which acted as alerts to possible problems. In the case of biodiesel however, it has been seen that higher throughput provides additional moisture and food to microbes residing further down the supply chain – particularly on the downstream side of filtration media.
– Seasonal or Periodic Use – Intermittently used fuel systems leave micro-organisms to grow undetected and unchecked for long periods of time. Winterisation and standby/emergency fuel is at particular risk.
What can I do?
Step 1 – Assess risk associated with your storage and usage
Step 2 – Decide on appropriate fuel cleanliness program, water drains and monitoring
Step 3 – Test: take a sample and ascertain what the contamination levels are in your tank(s)
Step 4 – Treat as appropriate – negligible, moderate or heavy contamination?
Step 5 – Re-test within 7-10 days to check treatment has dealt with the problem
Step 6 – Drain water at regular predetermined intervals according to risk. Tanks situated in high humidity and temperature areas should be drained more often.
Step 7 – Test at regular predetermined intervals according to risk – 3 months, 6 months etc
Step 8 – Treat as appropriate
Repeat Steps 6-8 on an ongoing basis.