Tank Cleaning Field Report


Do you know what lurks in your tank?  I spent the last week in Quito, Ecuador cleaning diesel tanks and training field technicians to do the same. Amazing what we found – microbial contamination, dirt, sand, deteriorated fuel and even a plastic bag.

20190109_130136Working at high altitudes, lifting fuel 16 feet at 9,000 feet of elevation was no easy task. Much less effectively cleaning fuel and tanks that had never been cleaned before.  Amazingly, we were able to clean three tanks in two days and the big take-away for all of my trainees were – expect the unexpected.  In my lifetime of working with fuels, I am constantly finding new things and learning.  Just when you think you have seen it all, something new comes up.

Using our Dixon Mobile Tank Cleaning Unit with a Gamajet nozzle, we were able to clean the tank walls then filter the remaining diesel for an excellent result. Contact Dixon for help with your tanks!

Mobile Fuel Cleaning

There are numerous manufacturers and assemblers making fuel filtration equipment. What makes a filtration unit superior? Four criteria determine superiority.

It must be safe. Safety is first and foremost. Does it have a safety shut-off switch clearly marked and easily accessible?  Does it have both pressure and vacuum gauges that are in clear site while the system is in operation?  Are grounding reels and a grounding rod included? Are safety instructions understandable in the operations manual? Consider the kind of fuel you will be cleaning. Do you need explosion proof or intrinsically safe? Do you know the difference between the two? How important is it? Built-in safety components make some units better. Look for safety factors when researching which unit you will purchase.

Ease of use is essential. If a cleaning unit is too difficult to use in the field, then problems will arise. Are there too many controlling factors like valves and connections?  The simpler, the better. Manufacturing equipment that is easy to use does not happen accidentally. You want tanks and fuel clean, but you do not want it to require a rocket scientist to operate the equipment. Are the gauges, shut-off switch and valves easy to access, clearly labeled and within easy reach? Can one person safely and efficiently operate the unit fs2bwith minimal effort? Before buying a system, think about its operation in the field. Ask yourself, “Is it easy to use?”

How cost efficient is the equipment to operate? Does it require special filters or odd sized consumables? Does the pump and motor require a lot of maintenance? Is it built to last? Make sure you understand the cost of all consumables and be warry of any company that cannot clarify how much it costs to operate. Look for options like mesh filter housing inserts to use in place of bag filters.  Also, be aware of the high maintenance cost of pump types like air operated double-diaphragm pumps. Positive displacement pumps like the Dixon BladeMaster pump will cut maintenance and downtime costs considerably.

How flexible is your system? Can it only clean one type of product? Flex filtration is a significant advantage. Purchasing a cleaning unit that is capable of filtering all fuels makes sense. Make sure the unit will filter all of the products you need it to.  Also, ask yourself can it clean tanks and filter fuel if the need arises.  Most mobile units can do one or the other but not both.

Make a purchase that is safe, easy to use, cost efficient and flexible. Check out Dixon Pumps mobile cleaning and filtration line of products.



Tank Cleaning vs. Fuel Polishing


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.