If microbial growth proceeds unchecked the consequences will not only be serious, but could also be very dangerous. Though individually microscopic, the organisms can rapidly build up to form a biomass in the fuel system, living at the interface between the water and fuel and eventually leading to blockages of fuel filters.
This build up reduces the efficiency of the fuel system and will eventually restrict or stop the flow of fuel through the filters to the pumps and injectors resulting in shutdowns that can occur at the most inopportune time.
Even if the fuel and filters are dealt with, micro-organisms can survive in the nooks and crannies ready to spring in to life once the fuel supply is restored. They will soon divide, grow and re-colonise the system, thriving on the reduced competition and pristine new fuel/food source.
Unless heavy contamination is thoroughly removed, not only can repeated engine stoppage’s result, but eventually the corrosive action of these organisms will eat through your tank structures whether they be mild steel, alloy or even stainless steel. Fibreglass tanks are also affected, with the bugs causing delamination.
Microbial growth also leads to the degrading of fuel quality, resulting in increased emissions and higher fuel consumption. Removal of the water and microbial growth will lead to a cleaner more complete burn of the fuel.