July 11th, 2019

What Does “Viable But Not Culturable” Mean and Why Should I Care?

In microbiology, the term used to describe microbes that appear to be healthy and active by test methods other than culturing is viable but not culturable – VNBC. Since the term first came into vogue in the 1980s, it has always reminded me of the Monty Python skit in which the customer – played by John Cleese – and the shop owner – played by Michael Palin – debate whether the parrot that Mr. Cleese had just bought…

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April 16th, 2019

Diesel fuel biodeterioration is not affected by the fuel’s sulfur content.

There is a broadly embraced misperception about the relationship between diesel fuel’s sulfur content and its toxicity to microorganisms. This misperception is driven by two logical flaws.

Logical argument #1:

There has been an increase in the number of microbially contaminated fuel systems since the use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) became mandatory.

Therefore, microbial contamination in low…

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February 11th, 2019

Opportunity Cost at the Forecourt
In my first Fuel & Fuel System Microbiology post in November 2016, I wrote about the cost of repairing and remediating sites at which underground storage tanks had leaked. At the time, I have not fully considered that most of this cost burden was borne by insurance underwriters – not site owners.
Today, I want to return to a theme I’ve been writing about since long before my November 2016 blog post: retail site opportunity cost. As I write this blog,…

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January 9th, 2019

I thank Michelle Hilger for inspiring me to write about today’s topic – the disconnect between the guidance NFPA provides about emergency generator fuel supplies and reality. Michelle chairs the Emergency Generating Systems Association’s (EGSA’s) Fuel: Fact or Fiction Working Group.

NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) Standards Related to Fuel Storage

The NFPA provides fuel condition monitoring guidance in two documents:

NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby…

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December 10th, 2018

In my October What’s New blog post, I highlighted several of my primary takeaways from PEI’s 2018 convention. In this post, I’ll focus on one new commercial offering. If it works as promoted, this system can be a game changer for contamination control in underground storage tanks (UST). At the convention Veeder-Root showed a model of their new CleanDiesel In-Sump Fuel Conditioning System (ISFC). I haven’t seen any field data from retail or commercial sites using this system, so I’m…

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