Frequently Asked Questions

What is fuel polishing?

Polishing your fuel is the process of running it through our multi-stage fuel filtering system to remove water, microbes, sludge and any other contaminates present. Using our high speed industrial pumps and filtering units, we can efficiently process large volumes of fuel. Following CSA282-09 specifications, we remove contaminates from your fuel, leaving a clean and reliable fuel supply. We do not remove your fuel. The cleaning process utilizes the fuel itself to scour the inside of your tank and suspend contaminates which are then removed by our high efficiency filters. Your fuel is recovered, reducing your costs and environmental impact.

Is fuel polishing necessary?

Your diesel engine needs two essential supplies to be reliable: air and clean, uncontaminated fuel. If your fuel has been stored for anything longer than a few months without usage, there is danger of contamination. Stored fuel will deteriorate over time.

What process does Petro Kleen use?

Our system is a closed-loop, multi-stage filtration unit. We first separate water and heavy sediment from the fuel. The fuel is then pulled through a series of filters, down to one micron. Our process concentrates on agitating the sediment and other contaminants at the bottom of the tank, suspending it in the fuel then filtering it out. At the completion of our service, we will resample the tank in accordance to the NFPA 110 code requirements.

Do I bring my tank to you?

No, our equipment is fully portable and self-contained.

Can you clean any tank size?

Yes, we have successfully cleaned tanks ranging from 20 to 1,000,000 gallons.

What do you remove from the tank?

We mainly collect water and bacteria waste. We also find sediment, rust and sludge and sand/gravel. At least 90% of the organic debris is bacterial waste. Residues in tanks are often acidic in nature, eroding your tank from the inside out.

How do you access the fuel?

The main access is usually created by removing accessories on the tank. (gauge, vent, burp cap, spare bung, fill port, veeder root)

Why do I need to maintain emergency power fuel?

  • The diesel fuel sits for years without being fully used.
  • The fuel is vented to atmosphere so it is constantly being exposed to airborne bacteria.
  • The pumps and generator injectors are most prone to damage due to fuel contamination and moisture.

Standby power has become a necessity in today’s marketplace. Power grid problems have forced us to utilize more and more backup power. Large data centers, hospitals, municipal and federal facilities are all installing very expensive backup generators and support systems. All of these systems have one common potential problem, poor fuel quality.

FORTUNATELY the Solutions are Easy... Proactive Fuel Maintenance!!!

How do I treat a fuel problem?

If you are experiencing motor problems or are frequently changing filters, immediate relief can be obtained by having your tank professionally cleaned. The cleaning process is typically done by agitation and filtration. It is very important that the fuel cleaning process creates significant turbulence in the tank. This action cleans the tank and suspends the bottom sludge into the fuel so that it can be removed by the filtration unit. It is important to note that just pumping out, or burning off the fuel will not solve the problem. All the sludge will remain in your tank bottom and re-contaminate the new fuel pumped into your tank during the refueling process.

So what do these growths do?

Different colonies of microbes can occur in different areas of the tank; floating islands (or mats) attach to the tank bottom and walls, as well as free floating in water and/or fuel. The microbial waste products (dead microbes and fecal matter) accumulate on the tank bottom, forming sludge. These growths and sludge can cause engine failure by clogging filters and fuel lines or degradation of engine components and fuel tank due to the acidic qualities of the sludge. Diesel also naturally degrades, dropping asphaltenes into the fuel.

My generator has fuel filters, so I should be fine, right?

Fuel filters are there to capture particles that could damage your generator. With relatively clean fuel, that’s great. The problem is, with contaminated fuel, the amount of particle can easily clog your filters, stopping your generator when it is needed in an emergency. This is why the CSA 282-09 criteria states contaminated fuel be “full filtered to remove water, scale, bacteria and oxidized gums/resins in order to minimize filter clogging”. Microbial growths and other contaminates can also clog the fuel lines before even getting to the filter. Either case can leave your emergency power system inoperable at the worst possible time, during an emergency.

Is there an Insurance risk if I am not maintaining my emergency fuel?

That would be decided by the insurance adjusters on a case by case basis. But the reality is, if you fail to keep your fuel in code compliance, as with any code violation it leaves you with a serious liability situation. A failure of your emergency system resulting in loss/claims would be investigated, and if appropriate documentation of fuel maintenance is not available, your coverage may not protect you.

How do I meet code compliancy?

Annually sample fuel from the bottom of the tank. Per ASTM D4176, if contaminants are found, clean fuel in tank. This process will ensure code compliancy.

Option 1: Draining Tanks of Fuel and Refilling

  • An unnecessary waste of fuel that is not ecologically responsible
  • Not a cost effective choice (cost for pumping out/removal of waste fuel plus cost of new fuel)

  • Does not address the root of the problem, which is accumulation of contaminates in the tank
  • Refilling a tank simply adds fresh fuel (food) for the microbes to continue growing

Option 2: Sampling and Fuel Polishing

  • If sampling proves no contamination is present, there is no expense or action required
  • Filtering removes contaminates, leaving a more stable fuel supply
  • Polishing fuel is the “GREEN” (environmentally friendly) solution
  • Removal of sludge reduces degradation of the tank and components, extending service life
  • Cost effective

With a direct comparison, it’s clear that sampling and filtering holds numerous advantaged over draining and refilling.

What fuel types do you handle?

Though polishing diesel fuel makes up the bulk of our service work, we also perform fuel polishing for gasoline and aviation fuels.

We also suggest and provide cleaning or polishing of hydraulic, lubricating, turbine and transfer oils.

Fire Code Extracts

NFPA 110-Standard for emergency and standby power systems
A.8.3.8-Limited fuel quality testing performed annually using appropriate ASTM standard test methods is recommended as a means to determine that existing fuel inventories are suitable for continued long term storage. Special attention should be paid to sampling the bottom of the storage tank to verify that the stored fuel is as clean and dry as practicable and that water, sediment, or microbial growth on the tank bottom is minimized. ASTM 975, “standard specification for diesel fuel oils”, contains test methods for existing diesel fuel.