2 Signs of Underlying Fuel Quality Issues

What convenience store owners shouldn’t ignore

Photo courtesy of PetroClear

Brought to you by PetroClear.

Dispenser filtration is a critical component of a retail fuel site’s quality assurance program. But dispenser filters can provide additional benefits beyond filtration that may surprise operators. While these fueling system components are designed to collect debris and other forms of contamination flowing through the system, dispenser filters also serve as a diagnostic agent, helping to reveal serious problems that put c-store products, equipment and reputation at risk.


Pump Up Your Contamination Management
Fuel contamination remediation is more expensive than contamination management. C-stores that prioritize contamination control as part of their routine maintenance operations save money over the long run. Contact PetroClear today to learn how PetroClear dispenser filters contribute to a strong contamination control program at a relatively low cost.


Fuel is extremely vulnerable to water intrusion, which in turn makes petroleum products—and the infrastructure that stores them—susceptible to microbial contamination or phase separation. This challenge represents both an ongoing product quality control issue that needs to be managed and an operations expense that needs to be budgeted for.

Thankfully, Phase Separation Detection, Water Sensing & Particulate Removing dispenser filters do more than help prevent the distribution of contaminated fuel. They alert operators to fuel quality problems and deteriorating conditions in the infrastructure. Operators and technicians who observe either of the following conditions during fueling should pursue follow-up measures to assess the quality of their fuel and the fitness of their fueling system: 

  • The filter’s total differential pressure increases and significantly slows the flow rate. Filters specified for water or phase separation detection reduce flow if they sense water or fuel that has completed phase separation passing through the filter.
  • Flow becomes prematurely restrained as the filter collects particulate. If this occurs earlier than planned maintenance intervals, then it is likely an indication of a serious contamination problem within the fuel storage system.

Further, an inspection of a used dispenser filter can reveal signs of corrosion and/or microbial contamination inside the fueling system. Clogged filters, corrosion of interior metal filter parts, solid or semi-solid particulate (especially particulate that is reddish-orange or brown), microbial slime, foul odor and extreme discoloration are all indicators of more serious problems. Operators should also pursue follow-up measures with a tank compliance company if these symptoms of contamination present themselves.

Incidents of tank corrosion—notably in tanks containing ultra low sulfur diesel—are on the rise. Industry reports indicate that strong prevention and maintenance programs are ultimately more cost-effective than expensive remediation measures. C-store operators who take actions to manage the intrusion of water into their fuel supply, maintain a regular dispenser filter maintenance program, heed a filter’s warnings and make adjustments to address the underlying cause will strengthen their operation overall. For more information, visit http://petroclear.com/academy