July 6th, 2017

Since November, this series has progressed through fuel system sampling, sample handling and non-microbiological tests used to detect biodeterioration. This post, and the three to follow, will cover microbiological testing.

Let’s take another look at the figure (fig 1) that accompanied Part 3 (December 2016):

Fig 1. Ability of different microbiological test method to detect all microbes present in a microbiome.

The largest circle represents the total microbiome – all the microbes…


May 12th, 2017

I recently received a question regarding the use of one tank-stick to measure multiple tanks. The question was: “if you stick a tank that is contaminated into the next tank, will it contaminate the second tank?”  That is: can the microbial load carried over from UST to another, on a gauging stick, infect the second UST?

Given how much press there has been lately about how easy it is to spread disease through brief, hand contact with contaminated surfaces, this is an excellent…


April 24th, 2017

We are progressing from test methods that do not require any equipment (other the tools you need for sample collection) to those that require increasingly expensive tools. You can complete basic gross observations by relying on your eyes and nose. The physical tests I suggested in Part 10 require simple tools; including a magnetic stirring bar retriever, disposable syringes, filter pads and in-line filter holders. In this blog, I’ll discuss a couple of simple chemical tests. However, with one…


April 13th, 2017

Let’s get physical. In Part 9, I discussed some very easy gross observation tests you can use to determine the likelihood of substantial microbiological contamination (MC) in fuel tanks (nearly everything in this blog series applies to tanks of all sizes from power tool tanks (<1 gal) to refinery bulk storage tanks ( as large as 500,000 bbl).This post introduces a couple of very simple physical tests you can run on bottom samples to detect fuel system damage that might be related to…


March 24th, 2017

Beginning with this post, I’m moving into Phase 3 of this series. In the first five posts, I introduced the issues that make fuel system microbiology condition monitoring important.  In Part 6 through 8 I covered the foundational concepts of sampling and testing.  Now it’s time to talk about actual test methods. The take home lesson here is that you can detect microbial contamination without having a lot of technical training or investing in expensive laboratory…



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