How to Detect Microbial Contamination of Fuel?
on 29/07/2020

Fuels are susceptible to contamination and spoilage due to various reasons. The easiest way to prevent fuel contamination and ensure its sound quality is regular fuel analysis from a reputed worldwide inspection services specialist.

Microbial contamination, water in the fuel tank, and corrosion are some of the most common fuel tank problems. If such issues are not dealt with in time, it can lead to a significant catastrophe. Microbial contamination or diesel bug can post a threat to the integrity of the fuel.

In this post, we will look into some early signs of microbial contamination of fuel. Knowing the symptoms will help you keep a check on the fuel and take timely action in case of any spoilage.  

#1 Water in the Oil Tank.

Most tank inspection services companies look for water in the oil to determine microbial contamination of the diesel. While water contamination in fuel tanks is usual, if the amount of water in the oil increases, it can lead to further damage. The water level in the oil tank also allows the inspectors to determine how significant the contamination is and how to resolve the problem.

Water can seep into the oil tank directly through a hole in the outer layer of the storage container or indirectly through the air. At the start of the water contamination, the water inside the tank is in the form of invisible molecules. However, once the amount of water in the air inside the oil tank reaches a saturation point, it emulsifies and forms water droplets. Water in the fuel can turn it cloudy, which is a sign of water contamination. If the water in the tank is not handled in time, small puddles of water will start forming at the bottom of the tank. Eventually, bacteria and bugs will start appearing, which will further degrade the quality of the fuel.

#2 Corrosion in Fuel Tank.

Corrosion or rust can form outside or even inside the fuel tank if it’s not maintained correctly. Corroded fuel tanks often indicate microbial contamination. When the bugs or microbes grow in numbers inside the container, they start to eat away the tank, causing tank erosion.

Corrosion of the tank should not be overlooked as it poses a threat to the environment. Oil leakage from eroded tanks is common that often leads to contamination of water bodies and wildlife. Moreover, cleaning up oil spills is very costly. Thus, it’s essential to perform timely oil tank testing to identify tanks corrosion early.  

#3 Bug in the Fuel.

Microbial growth in fuel tanks is often referred to as diesel bug. Bug in fuel can form due to water in the oil tank. The bug will start to multiply quickly if the level of water in the oil tank is more. Since fuel sludge form on the underside of the tank, it’s hard to detect from above. Only qualified tank inspecting professionals can identify the location of the sludge.

It’s worth noting that not all contamination is harmful. The professionals determine whether the contamination of fuel is negligible, moderate, or heavy. Once the level of contamination is identified, it’s easier to take care of it.