How to Start a Fuel Maintenance Programme: Protect Your Fuel Tank and Equipment

Wed, Jan 24, 2024

Preventative fuel tank maintenance ensures your site or land is safe, limits the likelihood of a spill and prevents the costly downtime and inconvenience of not being able to use equipment if it unexpectedly breaks or fails after refuelling.

A fuel maintenance programme can be broken down into tasks that best practice suggests are carried out regularly over the year. Incorporating the schedule below can help to ensure fuel tanks are kept fully operational and safe.

What fuel maintenance tasks should I perform regularly?

Aquafighter fuel tank water absorber

A good place to start with your fuel maintenance programme is a visual inspection at the bund, inspecting for any spilled fuel and removing all the accumulated debris, such as leaves or twigs. Regular tank maintenance and cleaning can help avoid issues, such as moisture building up inside the tank, corrosion, leaks, and microbial diesel bug sludge build up.

The fuel itself should be checked for water or the diesel bug it creates and removed from the fuel as soon as possible if spotted. Here is how you can regularly remove water from your fuel to stop the bacteria from forming.

Put an Aquafighter in the tank opening. With a range of high-quality fuel tank water absorbers, Aquafighter remove both free and emulsified water from your fuel. It reduces the water content levels down to less than 75ppm, meeting and exceeding the EN590 diesel fuel standards of 200ppm, saving you costly damage and downtime. The gel inside the product turns bright pink when it has absorbed as much water as it can, so within a week you will know if the Aquafighter needs replacing or removing.

What fuel maintenance tasks should I do every month?

Every month, a more detailed inspection of the area should take place. Valves should be checked to ensure they open and close correctly, and that they are not blocked or stuck. Pipes should be inspected for signs of leakage and have any cracks or holes repaired as soon as possible. The overfill alarm should be tested to see if it is fully operational, as well as the overfill prevention equipment.


The secondary containment or bund should be free of holes, cracks, tears, or other damage, with any water or debris removed. If there is a drip tray in the cabinet, it may need emptying of excess fuel to avoid spills, depending on how often the fuel tank is used. There should be a spill kit nearby if there is a spill from the tank or drip tray.

Filters installed on the tank’s pumping equipment will help to remove water and debris getting into your equipment when refuelling. Every month, these should be inspected and replaced when full, although how regularly they do reach capacity will depend on the quality of your fuel. Our fuel tank filter range includes Piusi, Cim-Tek and Goldenrod for removing both water and particles from your fuel, with a variety of different micron ratings available.

What part of a fuel tank maintenance schedule should be done every year?

Visually inspect the sump, tank, platform, skid, and handrail for rust, cracked welds and structural damage or deterioration. This should be repaired as and when needed. If you can see corrosion, rust, cracks, or warping on the tank or bund, this should be fixed or replaced.

On an annual basis, it is good practice to invest in a professional fuel tank service which may include taking a fuel sample to check for water or diesel bug, checking the operation of valves, testing of the gauging equipment and an in-depth inspection of the tank walls to make sure everything meets the required standards.

The tanks labels and operating instructions should also be checked that they are still present and legible.

Once a year a professional fuel polishing service is recommended. This is where the fuel is removed and cleaned from the tank, as the process of filling and using the tank can naturally result in debris contamination as well as the presence of water in the fuel.

A professional fuel polishing service makes sure fuel reaches ISO specification ISO4406:2017 as indicated by EN 590. Fuel polishing is an advanced, mechanical cleaning process that removes harmful sediment through filtration and circulation such as water, sludge and microbial contamination that causes diesel bug.

The fuel is removed from the tank and then filtered back into the existing tank, or a new clean tank in optimum state.

CTS Fuel Recirculation Unit

For tanks that are not extensively used, it is recommended to fit a fuel recirculation unit to keep fuel filtered and not stagnant between annual fuel polishing services. To stop diesel bug forming, you need to keep the fuel moving, especially in tanks that are not used very often, like generator tanks. It only needs to be fitted once but works every day at circulating the fuel.

Install a fuel circulation unit, to prevent diesel fuel inside a storage tank from getting stagnant. By regularly recirculating the fuel, diesel bug cannot settle and grow. The recirculation unit draws the fuel up from the front of the tank through a magnetic conditioner, which breaks down the bacteria to pass through two conventional water and particle filters. This final filtration process removes any other impurities before circulating the fuel back into the tank. We have 2 types of CTS Fuel Tank Circulation System available; one for circulating (50lpm) a maximum of 3000 litres per day for tanks up to 40,000 litres, and another for circulating (70lpm) a maximum of 4000 litres per day for tanks up to 70,000 litres.

Regular fuel maintenance means fuel can be used at best performance and cut machinery down time. Having a planned fuel maintenance programme for your tank and fuel can stop issues before they impact vehicles and equipment.

Here's a comprehensive list of everything you need to check on your fuel tank

We’ve put together an easy to use Fuel Tank Maintenance Checklist that is free to download, print and tick off as you go!