Every state has a regulatory department that oversees the sales of petroleum to the public. The purpose is to ensure that consumers get the quantity and quality of fuel they are paying for. As part of this oversight, regulators will conduct on-site inspections that test fuel quality. This blog article will discuss how contaminated fuel can impact these inspections.
Inspectors typically show up to sites unannounced to test fuel products. Some tests can be done on site while others need to be sent off to a lab, depending on the jurisdiction of the regulations. There are mobile testing devices such as the Zeltex, that can test octane and ethanol content in gasoline as well as cetane in diesel. Flashpoint is also a common test to determine if a cross-contamination has occurred. However, the simple fact is that more often than not, fuel will fail inspection due to simple visual inspection of water and particulate in fuel, if any trace is detected.
This is a photo of a tank bottom sample collected from a tank without a Fuel Quality Plan. The fuel became so bad that the contamination was clogging filters and damaging meters.
Because of the nature of contamination here, the fuel was purged from the system and the tank was washed and the lines purged several times. New fuel was dropped in the tank and inspectors returned and collected samples from the nozzle a second time.
The freshly dropped fuel also failed inspection. Now that the fuel was clean, it was the petroleum system that was the cause of contamination. The photo here is a bird’s eye view looking down into the sample jar. The fuel looks very clear, but still failed inspection due to particulate seen near the red arrows. This particulate was coming from a rusted pipe within the dispenser, which needed to be replaced.
When it comes to contaminated fuel, there are many things you have to monitor, the actual fuel in your tank, and all of the components in your fuel system. Any issues with either one, can cause a failed inspection.
This is why it is important to establish a Fuel Quality Plan before your next inspection. Preventive maintenance is cheaper and easier to deal with than emergency maintenance, and it doesn’t include down time.
Call FuelGuard today at 904- 349-2347 to discuss your Fuel Quality Plan. Your Business Runs on Fuel. Quality Fuel Runs on FuelGuard.