Diesel Fuel Tank Cleaning Services | 123 Oil

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Diesel Fuel Tank Cleaning Service


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Fuel tanks are a vital part of the fuel supply system in the petroleum industry. They work as ideal containers to store liquid fuel, keeping it safe, transportable and clean, and ensuring a continuous supply at commercial and industrial sites.

Nevertheless, fuel tanks need regular cleaning to remove built-up sludge, avoid fuel contamination, and minimise the chances of tank corrosion. If their cleanliness is not ensured regularly, it can lead to oil contamination and leakages and ruin the company’s reputation. 

To cater to these issues, we at 123 Oil promise standard cleaning services for commercial fuel tanks. We guarantee well-maintained, immaculate fuel tanks for quality fuel supply.

Causes of Fuel Contamination

Certain factors of natural and chemical origin cause fuel contamination in the fuel tank.

Natural Contamination

  • Hygroscopicity

Diesel fuel is hygroscopic and readily absorbs moisture from the air, leading to water contamination. This can cause corrosion and promote microbial growth, especially in steel components.

  • Microbes

With time, microbes occurring naturally in the fuel tank survive on water and hydrocarbon content present in the fuel, forming a layer of debris that sticks to the walls of the container, whereas adding fresh fuel accelerates this microbial growth. Growths that separate from the sidewalls float freely in the fuel and unexpectedly choke fuel lines or filters.

  • Repolymerization and Oxidation:

These are natural phenomena through which diesel molecules react to form varnishes and insoluble gums. Later on, these particles settle down to form sludge in the tank.

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Tank and System Contamination

  • By-Pass Fuel:

The by-pass fuel, a specific portion used to lubricate and cool critical components in diesel engines, is sent back to the day tank or main tank as heat de-generated fuel. This warmer fuel can cause condensation inside storage tanks, compromising the fuel’s integrity.

Contamination Through Supply Chain

  • Refuelling:

When tank fuel levels are low, the powerful pumps of refuelling trucks can stir up existing contamination (such as water and diesel sludge), rapidly contaminating the fresh fuel.

  • Delivery Contamination:

During each delivery, fuel can exchange hands several times, increasing the risk of contamination from various sources. These sources include unclean transportation, temporary storage tanks, and different types of water contamination.

Some Other Reasons Include

Sludge Build-Up: Water content present in the fuel facilitates microbial growth. These microbes settle in the fuel tank and combine with dust and tank rust to form sludge build-up.

Particulate Matter: Airborne particles like dust and pollens get mixed with the fuel from air vents and rust particles in fuel tanks. These particles clog fuel filters and engine piping and reduce its efficiency.

Diesel Bug: Diesel, being hygroscopic, attracts water that stimulates microbial growth within the fuel tank. These microbes, fungi, algae, and bacteria are called diesel bugs that divide quickly, doubling their amount within 20 minutes. Hence, a thick layer of diesel bug develops in the tank and engine, reducing engine efficiency, blocking pipes and corroding the tank’s surface.

Water Contamination: Water being denser than diesel sinks in the tank, leading to microbes forming a thick layer in the tank. Additionally, water develops corrosion in the tank, deteriorating its internal surface.

Each kind of contamination badly affects the fuel quality and tank life; therefore, hiring expert fuel tank cleaning services is vital to avoid a significant loss.

Diesel Fuel Tank Cleaning

Methods for Fuel Tank Cleaning

There are several methods for cleaning fuel tanks, depending on the contamination level and the tank size.

Manual Cleaning: This involves draining the fuel tank and physically scrubbing the inside of the tank with a brush or sponge. The debris and sludge are removed, and the tank is rinsed with a cleaning solution.

Chemical Cleaning: Chemical cleaning begins with adding a fuel tank cleaner to the tank and letting it sit for some time. The cleaner is then drained along with the debris and sludge. This method is effective for light to moderate contamination.

High-Pressure Cleaning: A high-pressure water or steam jet removes the debris and sludge from the tank.

Vacuum Cleaning: This involves using a vacuum truck to suck out the debris and sludge from the fuel tank.

Ultrasonic Cleaning: It uses ultrasonic waves to create high-frequency pressure waves that agitate and remove the debris and sludge from the tank.

Fuel Tank Ultrasound Testing

It is a non-destructive and effective method to detect any crack, weak tank surface, or leaks in the fuel storage tank. The technique works by emitting high-frequency ultrasound waves through the tank, which are then reflected and analysed to determine the presence of any abnormalities, such as corrosion or cracks.

Possible Faults with Tank Cleaning

Residue or Sludge Remaining in the Tank: If the cleaning is not thorough, some residue or sludge may remain in the tank. This can lead to fuel lines, filters, and injectors getting clogged and the engine getting damaged.

Damage to the Tank: The cleaning process may damage the tank’s interior or exterior, leading to corrosion or structural damage. This can result in leaks, contamination, and further maintenance issues.

Contamination from Cleaning Materials: If the cleaning materials or equipment were not adequately cleaned or handled, they could contaminate the tank with foreign particles, chemicals, or bacteria.

Improper Disposal of Waste Materials: The waste materials generated during the cleaning process, such as sludge or cleaning solutions, must be disposed of properly to prevent environmental damage. Improper disposal can result in fines, legal issues, and negative public perception.

123 Oil is well-trained, licensed and experienced, offering quality services in compliance with environmental safety protocols to provide you with a clean fuel tank for safe oil storage and enhanced tank life.

Diesel Tank Cleaning Services for All Types of Tanks

When it comes to diesel fuel tank cleaning, we offer exclusive services for all types of tanks. Our skilled technicians can clean the following:

  • Vehicle fuel tanks.
  • Floating roof tanks.
  • Industrial and domestic heating oil tanks.
  • Transportation tanks.
  • Above and underground storage tanks.
Diesel Fuel Tank Cleaning

Mitigate Impacts of Tank Contamination with 123 Oil

Sludge Growth

With time, fuel tanks develop sludge that contaminates the fuel, blocking fuel passage in a container. To eliminate these problems, you need a fuel tank cleaning service.

Rusting & Corrosion

Rusting and corrosion are common problems with every tank that can cause significant leakage during transportation and reduced tank life.


Moisture in diesel tanks encourages microbial growth, and microbes diminish the oil quality by damaging its composition. With proper diesel fuel tank cleaning services from 123 Oil, you can avoid it.

How Do We Operate?

123 Oil is ready to be at your doorstep to give you a clean fuel tank without removing it. 

Dial up our 24/7 available team, get an instant quote, and we will plan your tank cleaning carefully.

  • Our professionals visit your site, conduct a thorough inspection and devise the most appropriate tank cleaning method.
  • Lastly, our team takes on the cleaning task with great care, giving you back a thoroughly cleaned tank. Also, the cleaning process is streamed live via cameras to ensure transparency.


The most common contaminants for diesel fuel are water, microbes, wax, debris and sediments.

Water is the universal contaminant for diesel fuel. Nearly all tanks of diesel fuel that have been stored have water at the bottom for any length of time.

Logically, microbes need water content to thrive; therefore, for the effective removal of algae from a diesel tank, two steps should be taken:

  • Mechanically removing the water from the tank followed by a chemical treatment to wipe out leftover water; this will make the environment unfeasible for algae growth.
  • To kill algae, you must apply an effective biocide that will eliminate the whole life inside a fuel tank.

Cleaning a diesel tank without removing it is a step-wise procedure:

  • First, you must disconnect all the fuel lines, then entirely drain the whole tank.
  • Now, wash out all the debris using a pressure washer.
  • Thirdly, apply a quality cleaning solution inside the tank and leave it for some time
  • Finally, rinse the fuel tank using water and let it dry for two days.

Firstly, drain the tank and remove it. Then, clean the tank using hot water and a good detergent. Remove all the debris, dry it with compressed air, and add antifreeze/water remover to absorb any remaining moisture. Now, let the tank dry completely before using it.

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