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How to Prevent Water from Entering a Storage Tank

Water may seem harmless, but it can actually do a lot of damage to a storage tank and its components. The presence of water in a storage tank can contaminate fuel, contribute to bacteria growth, and corrode components, resulting in a leak.

In last week’s blog, we covered how water gets into a storage tank. More and more, we find that changes in the distribution/delivery infrastructure that are designed to speed up delivery are also increasing the likelihood that water will not be removed from fuel. In addition, the chemical makeup of some fuels makes them more likely to attract water.

In this week’s blog, we’re going to cover methods that can be employed to prevent water from entering a storage tank.


There are a number of industry-recommended practices for preventing water from entering a storage tank.

How to Prevent Water from Entering a Storage Tank

There are a number of industry-recommended practices for preventing water from entering a storage tank. These include:

  • Using an ATG – automatic tank gauging system with water monitoring capability. The sensors will automatically alert the operator to the presence of water in the tank.
  • Inspect spill containment buckets. If you find water, do not drain the bucket into the tank, but rather remove and dispose of the water in accordance with applicable regulations.
  • Inspect fill and vapor caps. Replace damaged or missing gaskets.
  • Talk to your fuel supplier about what they do to ensure product is delivered without water.
  • “Audit your fuel deliverer’s tank filing process and request that water content be included on the delivery Certificate of Analysis. Measure water level before and after each fuel delivery.”
  • Install water-sensitive fuel filters. If the fueling process begins to slow down, this may be a sign of water in the tank.
  • Talk to a storage tank contractor about water removal services, regular cleaning/maintenance services, and treatment services designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria in water in storage tanks.
  • If water is detected in the bottom of the tank, remove it as soon as possible.
  • Remember that “The less a storage and dispensing system is used, the easier water can accumulate in the system,” according to STI.

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