What Can We Do to Prevent Microbial Corrosion?
Reprinted from L. U. S. T. Line December 2015
Mahesh Albuquerque, Director of the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety column: ULSD’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
If there was just one thing you could do, I would suggest taking an aggressive approach to preventing water buildup in tanks storing ULSD. This means ensuring that all tank-top fittings are tight, drain plugs in spill buckets are closed, and surface drainage prevents water from ponding over spill buckets or other tank-top sumps. It also means checking for the presence of water in tanks periodically, a few hours after every delivery to allow water to settle out, as well as daily after heavy precipitation events, or in areas with shallow groundwater. Water can be detected by certain ATG probes or by the old fashioned way with water-finding paste smeared on the end of a tank gauge stick. Any water accumulation over a quarter of an inch should be removed promptly. Here are some best management practices related to the operation of ULSD UST systems:
Prevent Cross-Contamination Transport Store ULSD in dedicated tanker compartments if possible to prevent cross contamination with ethanol blended gasoline.
Conduct Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
Monitor daily for the presence of water in tanks, and conduct monthly walk-through inspections of dispenser cabinets, spill buckets, and sumps.
Conduct Periodic Internal Tank Inspections At least once every three years remove drop tubes, ATG probes, the STP, and line leak detectors to check for the buildup of corrosion and the functionality of monitoring equipment.
Minimize Stagnant Product in Tanks Emergency generator tanks and other tanks with low throughput are more susceptible to microbial growth as aged product degrades. The addition of appropriate stabilizers that contain antioxidants, biocides, and corrosion inhibitors may be necessary in these tanks.
UST systems storing ULSD provide a favorable environment for microbial growth, especially when the fuel is contaminated with water or ethanol or other food sources for microbes. Microbiologically influenced corrosion likely plays a significant role in the prevalence of the corrosion seen in ULSD UST systems across the country. The corrosion of metal presents a risk to the functionality of metal components. Through aggressive water management and the implementation of simple best management practices, microbial growth can be effectively managed to minimize the risk to UST functionality.
TMS UST Inspections Under Way
As part of the loss prevention program for the 3rd party liability insurance TMS annually conducts 150 UST facility inspections. The facilities are selected at random by region. As of this newsletter TMS has completed 26 of the 150 inspections for this year.
The purpose of the inspection is to aid the operator in understanding what a UST facility needs to do to be in compliance. Here are the four most cited issues we find during our inspections.
- 1. Dirty spill buckets. Spill buckets need to be clean and empty for two reasons. 1st is because if product is released from the fill line there is enough room in the bucket to prevent it from spilling outside the containment. 2nd is it allows you and inspectors a clear view to see the bucket is not cracked or broken, preventing product from seeping into the soil around the fill area.
- 2. Level C training not completed or no record it has been completed available. Level C training for UST operators must be done before the clerk begins working and clerks must be retrained every year. Why is this so important? Clerks are usually the first to respond to any type of emergency that happens at a UST facility. It could just be telling a customer to fill their gas can on the ground instead of the tail gate of their pickup or calling 911 if a fire or spill occurs and evacuating everyone away from the area of a UST. It is all important.
- 3. No leak detection. USTs must have a passing tank test from either an automatic tank gauge (ATG), statistical inventory reconciliation (SIR) or groundwater/vapor monitoring. During recent inspections several facilities did not have their SIR reports back from the provider for January or February. Best practice is to have the inventory control for fuel sent off by the 5th of the following month and returned by the provider to you by the 10th.
- 4. Cracked spill buckets. We were surprised by this one. TMS has already found more than 10 broken spill buckets with one facility having all 3 buckets broken. As stated earlier, the spill bucket prevents product from spilling into the ground around the fill area. More the 50% of all contamination is found in this area.
TMS sends out a inspection notice more than a week in advance of the inspection, telling the owner/operator the day we will be at the facility. The notice states what reports or documents we will need to see when we get there. If unattended facility we ask that the reports be sent to us.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) requires all UST operators to be certified as level A/B operators within 30 days of taking over operation of a UST facility. If you took the class in 2013 or after, you need to recertify every four years from the exact date you last took the class.
Below is a list of dates and location of the classes scheduled for 2017. You will find the full class schedule and registration on our website at tankmgmt.net.
April 4 City Limits Convention Center
2227 S. Range Avenue - Altir Room
April 5 Fort Hays State University
Memorial Union – Black & Gold Room
600 Park Street
April 6 Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center
410 South 3rd Street
May 3 Atrium Hotel & Conference Center
1400 North Lorraine Street
May 4 The Eldridge Hotel
June 6 Dodge City Community College
2501 North 14th
Student Union Board Room
Dodge City, KS
June 7 Best Western Wichita North
915 East 53rd Street North
June 8 Holiday Inn South
3145 South 9th