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5 Tips to Prevent ULSD Corrosion

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ULSD Corrosion in underground storage tank on submersible pumpOne of the biggest problems in the petroleum industry today is managing your diesel fuel storage tank. Ever since the EPA mandated the switch from low sulfur diesel (LSD) to ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in 2006, steel storage tanks, turbine pump components and any other exposed metal are being corroded and completely destroyed in a matter of months. The main cause of corrosion is from microbial build-up which occurs when water is introduced to the system. This can happen a couple of different ways such as water leaking in through rusted fittings or from condensation; either way, once introduced, it must be removed.

Before the EPA mandated the switch to ULSD, there was a high enough sulfur content in the diesel fuel to destroy and prevent any microbial growth from developing in the tank. However, now that all ULSD fuel contains less than 15ppm sulfur content, things like microbes, bacteria and fungus will begin developing in your tank when water enters the system. 

Here are 5 tips we recommend implementing to prevent ULSD corrosion. They might seem tedious up front but in the long run will prevent microbial buildup. All ULSD Fuel Marketers should be implementing these steps in the care of their tanks to ensure the quality of their product and prevent costly repairs to submersible turbine pumps and other equipment.

1. Purchase your fuel from a trustworthy source. If you don’t have a trustworthy fuel supplier, its important to find one.

2. Prevent water build-up in tanks. In a perfect world no water enters the tank, however you and I both know this world isn't perfect and water tends to creep into every place you wish it wouldn’t.

  • Keep your tanks full to minimize development of condensation wherever possible.
  • Ensure your tank fittings are properly installed and free of rust.
  • If both of these are employed and you still have water buildup then the best way to remove contamination is to use a fuel additive like Dee-Zol or DFS Plus.

3. Adopt a regular maintenance schedule to test for microbes and water, this will help you stay on top of stored fuel problems. Tanks should be dipped monthly to monitor water phase levels. Biocides should be used every 90 days to prevent the growth of microbial contamination.

4. When moving fuel, run it through a filtration system. Franklin Fueling System’s new Intake Filter Screen is an excellent bolt on filtration kit that will not only filter out corrosion and microbial growth but will help prevent other debris from blocking the pump intake.

5. Avoid storing diesel fuel for long periods of time. This will prevent the establishment and growth of microbes.