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How to Check For & Remove Diesel Bacteria (Bug)

diesel bacteriaIf you’re using diesel powered equipment, it’s important to ensure that your fuel is monitored and protected against the build-up of diesel bacteria (also known as diesel bug), which can form inside your storage tanks.

Diesel bug is quite a nasty microorganism that can gather inside your fuel tank and quickly degrade your fuel supply and affect the running of your diesel-powered machinery.

If your diesel-powered equipment is integral to your business and potentially very expensive to maintain, or even replace. Ensuring a high-quality fuel supply will be key to extending the life of your equipment.

Not only will you have to factor in those costs, but if you also store a large amount of diesel fuel on your premises in your own storage tanks. You may need to factor in other costs such as having your fuel checked and cleaned (polished), or even potentially have it replaced if the fuel is too degraded.

So, all in all, diesel bug if not kept in check, can potentially become a very expense problem for many businesses.

How does Diesel Bug find its way into Oil Tanks

One of the main issues for many businesses who store and use diesel on their own premises will be finding ways to prevent, or at the very least, limit the potential onset of diesel bug in their fuel supply.

In any busy working environment, where there are a lot of ‘moving parts’ with many people having access to and accessing your fuel supplies. It’s often all too easy for problems to manifest themselves, even when proper precautions are taken.

If water gets into your fuel tank it will sink to the bottom of the tank, helping to provide the ideal conditions for the bacteria. The bacteria can reproduce quickly in the right conditions and a colony can easily double or triple in the space of an hour. They live for approximately 2 days before they die, but this is only the beginning of the issue.

Their bodies gather together to form black sludge in your tank, which can stick to the sides of your tank. It can also can also pass through your machinery and block oil filters and produces hydrogen sulphide which can erode your tank and wear away the metal in the pipes.

How to tell if Diesel Bacteria Exists in Your Oil System

Checking your own fuel supply from time to time is important if you want to prevent, or at the very least, limit the on-set of diesel bug within your storage tanks.

There are ways to check your own fuel supply as we will show you below, but for a more comprehensive test, you should consider calling in an expert (such as to properly test the fuel for bacteria, bugs and microbes that are not visible to the naked eye.

There are numerous ways its existence can be indicated:

  • You may be able to see traces of black sludge and water in the glass ball on the tank. The tank will need to be cleaned and drained if you can visibly see a lot of water in the glass ball as this could indicate that there is water in the tank. Black mud will nearly certainly specify diesel bacteria contamination.
  • Look for traces of black sludge in the old fuel filters when you’re changing the filters on the fuel tank.
  • If your fuel tank has a drain tap, then pour some into a glass or a clear plastic container. Allow it to settle for a couple of minutes and then look and see if you can spot any water or black sludge in the container.

For more information, visit our dedicated website Crown Oil Environmental where you can find more information on fuel contamination. We also offer a comprehensive fuel polishing service which can remove all traces of diesel bacteria / bug in your fuel tank.

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