Bugs in Fuel - Detection, Prevention, Cure

Fri, June 28, 2013 - 7:39:06

Fuel Tank Filter

The increasing bio-content in today’s diesel means that the fuel in our storage tanks often contains small, but problematic water levels.

Due to its dense nature, the water present in a fuel storage tank sinks to the bottom, creating an interface between the water and fuel. It is in this interface that bacteria referred to in the industry as “bugs in fuel” grows. The sludge that this bacteria causes can get into the vehicles, machinery and boilers that the tank is fuelling, resulting in expensive downtime and costly repairs.

“Bugs in fuel” is a potential issue for every fuel tank owner. Therefore, whether you have a domestic heating oil tank or a commercial diesel refuelling tank, you should be following the Detection, Prevention, Cure procedure to eliminate water contamination problems.

To avoid unnecessary action, the first step for tank owners is to determine whether there is a problem with water in your fuel. There are numerous costly laboratory tests that can be undertaken to establish whether bugs are present, but this is a lot of expense for essentially telling you what you could predict from using water finding paste. If water finding paste finds you to have a large presence of water, it is likely that if you don’t act and prevent it, the growth of bugs will begin. 

Similarly a Cim-Tek Tank Dryer can be used to determine whether there is water existing in the fuel. Whilst this water absorbing tank sock will take out a small amount of the water present, a fuel tank filter should then be fitted to remove the rest.

It is now recommended practice that a fuel storage tank should have a fuel tank filter installed in the dispensing system to remove any present water.

As the probability of having water in your fuel is so high, some fuel tank owners choose to bypass the water detection stage in the process and put a fuel tank filter on their tank from the offset. However others only add a filter once they have detected its presence, or have experienced the problems associated with the bacteria contamination it leads to. 

Unless an absolute filter like our Donaldson fuel filter is used, there is always a chance that some water may get through your system. If this is the case, and the bugs grow, a Purafiner fuel conditioner can be used to break down the colonies of bacteria that have grouped together into their individual sizes, which will naturally burn with the fuel in the vehicle or machinery engine.