Water in Diesel?
All diesel fuel storage and tank systems are prone to water contamination. Water can enter diesel tanks when already contaminated fuel is added or through condensation from humidity via tank breathers. The main issues with water in diesel fuel are corrosion, injector and pump damage, fuel degradation through hydrolysis and fungal or bacterial infestation.
As water is heavier than diesel, it tends to sink and accumulate at the bottom of the tank and forms what is known as a “water bottom”. Although it is not possible to completely eliminate water contamination from occurring in the first place, there are a number of options for removing it and treating the problems that arise.
Diesel fungus and bacteria live on the barrier between the water and diesel in the tank, feeding on the fuel, gradually destroying it and releasing acidic digestion by-products. Badly-infected fuel becomes thick with a dark slime which can cause filter blocking and pump failure. Treatment involves dosing the affected tank with a diesel fungus biocide and in serious cases the disposal of the affected fuel and complete cleaning of the tank.
Removing The Water
The most effective method of removing water from diesel is to use water-stripping filters. These filters use a special media to prevent water from passing through and help it to coalesce (fall out) from the fuel, becoming trapped in a water bowl underneath the filter. Use a good quality fuel filtration system and drain water traps and tank bottoms of water and residues regularly.
To assist the water and fuel separation inside the tank and subsequent removal via a water trap, it is helpful to use a chemical demulsifier such as that which is included in Smith Lubricants Diesel Up. Click here to learn more about the ways in which Diesel Up helps you maintain a healthy diesel fuel supply and engine.