Tank cleaning and fuel polishing are two different processes. The question often asked, “Which one is better?” Are there any advantages to one over the other? Cost can be a determining factor as well as site downtime, if any. Tank cleaning is generally more expense. It usually requires fuel be removed and a chemical agent applied during cleaning. Once the tank cleaning process is completed, the old contaminated fuel is filtered back into the tank or new fuel is delivered. Either way the costs are higher than simply polishing fuel in place.
Opponents on either side of the cleaning and filtration industry will argue their points, but the solution is often determined by cost of service and downtime. Let’s be honest, for many tank owners cleaning versus polishing is a matter of economics. If the only economically feasible solution is to polish the fuel – then do it. It is better than leaving contaminated fuel in the tank. Ignoring the problem will only increase the cost of ownership.
However, there are times when a tank is so contaminated that it requires a tank cleaning with pressure and chemicals. Having been in the field cleaning tanks and filtering fuel for years, I have found around 20% of the tanks serviced needed tank cleaning in addition to fuel polishing.