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Find out what to look out for when storing fuel on site and why it is important to test it's quality.

I Store Fuel on Site, What Should I be Looking For?

Many sites store fuel that has the potential to cause significant environmental damage unless managed appropriately. Fuel storage must comply with the Oil Storage Regulation, but we will discuss some of the areas you should consider to reduce pollution risk here.


Fuel must be stored in an appropriate container, of the correct size and in good condition, with no rust or cracks. There should be good signage, indicating contents and safe working capacity for refilling. In addition, you should consider secondary containment, particularly if fuel is stored outside. This is usually bunding, or double skinned tanks that will contain fuel and prevent it from escaping if the primary container fails. If the bund is not covered, you should have a process in place to manage rainwater ingress to ensure the capacity of the bund is not compromised. Some bunds have an alarm to warn of contamination in the bund (particularly important for covered bunds where you can’t see) and should be tested regularly. If they don’t work, or alarm, action must be taken immediately.

Asset Awareness

You must know exactly what you have on site, especially with multiple sites. You need to know the basics like what fuel you have, how it’s stored, bunding arrangements (including alarms) and maintenance/ inspection regimes. You also need to have full knowledge of fuel supply pipelines including whether they are above or below ground, their construction, routes and how many pumps there are.

Emergency Procedures

Although you want to plan to prevent an incident, you must make plans for if one does occur. For fuel storage, you need to have provisions in place for a spillage. This will include awareness of the drainage and interceptor arrangements and suitable spill kits in the area. At a minimum, you should have an oil specific spill kit and your staff must receive site specific spill training and be aware of what to do. Depending on quantity, you may also want to consider an external company to deal with a large spill.

Maintenance/ Inspections

Fuel tanks and the surrounding area should be regularly checked. Maintenance may need to be considered, particularly for fuel pumps and underground supply pipelines to ensure they remain in good condition. You should regularly check fuel tanks for condition (rust and signs of damage) and the refueling area to ensure pumps are in good condition and not leaking and that there are no spillages in the area. You can also check spill kit condition. If you discover any issues, they should be addressed quickly and actions taken to prevent them from happening again, if applicable.

If you store fuel on site, you must take action to prevent pollution. You should make sure fuel is stored safely and securely and be aware of your full fuel storage arrangements so if there is an incident, you can respond appropriately. Regular inspections of the whole area will ensure that good standards are maintained.


Why Do I Need to Test my Diesel Quality?

When storing and using fuel on site, there are many things you need to consider, including location, bunding, inspection and maintenance. Additionally, you need to think about the quality of your diesel and the potential for it to get contaminated and affect your fleet read on to understand the importance of testing diesel quality.

What is contaminated fuel?

Diesel can become contaminated with varieties of diesel bug, water, sludge and sediment. Fuel can collect gums and sediments sucked through fuel lines and become contaminated by water that enters fuel tanks from condensation when the tank heats during the day, and cools at night. Water, fuel and UK temperatures in a fuel tank are ideal conditions for diesel bug, a micro-organism that multiplies quickly, creating a film on the fuels surface, leaving behind sludge made up of fungi, yeast, mold and bacteria that settles to the bottom of the tank. The use of modern biofuels, which can be up to 7% in the UK can increase contamination risk. Biofuel is derived from organic materials such as vegetable oils and animal fats and is therefore more susceptible for bugs and bacteria. In addition, biofuel is hygroscopic, i.e. it absorbs water from the surrounding area.

What are the impacts of contaminated fuel?

Contaminated fuel can be costly for your fleet and operation. Sludge and sediment can lead to clogged filters, which increases use, reducing MPG’s and fleet efficiencies. Excess water can also collect separately from the fuel, causing engines and tanks to rust. Regularly monitoring of fuel quality and taking the indicated actions will reduce maintenance costs and help reduce damage.

How often should my fuel be tested?

In order to support efficient and reliable operations, you should regularly test fleet diesel quality. Regular testing will identify diesel bug, water content, sludge and sediment that can be dealt with before it causes damage and reduces efficiencies. Samples must be taken from the base of the tank, rather than the tank outlet as this is where contamination will occur. Frequency of sampling will be informed by previous testing, but is usually every 6 or 12 months, depending on how often tests suggest contamination.

What should I do if my fuel is contaminated?

If fuel is contaminated, you should consider remediation. There are various options for fuel remediation, which can include filtering and polishing fuel and replacing clean fuel in the tank. This is a cost-effective option that allows you to retain most of the fuel for future use. In addition, the tank itself may need to be cleaned to remove sludge and sediment.

If you store and use fleet fuel, it is important to check the quality of the fuel to make sure it is free from diesel bug, water and sediment contamination to help increase efficiencies and reduce maintenance costs. Samples should regularly be taken from the tank base and action taken if contamination is discovered.