The Coordinating Research Council released a report during the first week of August 2021 on accelerated corrosion in diesel fuel underground storage tanks. Of the many details listed in their findings, a key detail to note is that the presence of free water is essential to corrosion.

The report, called “Identification of Potential Parameters Causing Corrosion of Metallic Components in Diesel Fuel Underground Storage Tanks,” was partially sponsored by NACS. It set out  to determine how select factors affected ferrous metal corrosion, either directly or through interactions among two or more factors. 

As a diesel fuel testing lab, we at FOI understand the findings of this report, specifically those related to the presence of water in fuel leading to tank corrosion. Over the history of our company, we have catered our diesel and biodiesel testing packages towards a focus on determining if free water has made its way into your tank.

Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger stated that “the conclusion that mild steel corrosion was unequivocally associated with the presence of free water and that water was the only independent variable that correlated positively with all of the independent variables highlights the importance of tank owners’ conducting effective maintenance of their systems to prevent water intrusion and accumulation. There is nothing more important to mitigating the risk of corrosion than this important step.

In addition to their findings on water and corrosion, the CRC listed 11 factors as main contributors to “increased coincidence” of corrosion in underground fuel tanks. These included:

  • diesel sulfur levels
  • biodiesel
  • lubricity additives
  • conductivity additives
  • cold flow improvers
  • corrosion inhibitors
  • fiber reinforced polymer material
  • free water
  • microbial population
  • glycerin
  • ethanol

This report solidifies what our lab has seen, and continues to encounter in our clients fuel samples. Water is no friend of fuel, or your storage tank’s lifespan. To speak with one of our fuel testing specialists, or learn about how you can effectively track your testing history and fuel life, contact us through our live chat (bottom right corner) during business hours M-F, or use our contact form.