insights

Russell Dupuy 02 Jun 2016 By Russell Dupuy

All Functions Normal – or are they?

Have you made the investment in an Automatic Tank Gauge [ATG]?

You might consider asking a few questions!

One Australian owner paid for what they thought was a leading inventory management and tank leak detection ATG.

To their horror, what they got was an electronic dip-stick. They did not know that at the time because ‘All Functions Normal’ is what the system was reporting to them.

They paid the ultimate price – their fuel tank leaked. Fuel was discovered recently off-site by a third party that notified the EPA who fined the owner and operator, but it did not stop there.

The site was down for six weeks, the forecourt ripped up, the leaking tank replaced, lost fuel contaminating the soil and lose of revenue during this time. The estimate Aud$127,000 excluding legal costs and EPA fine!

Whilst the system they paid for in good faith is robust and capable of detecting a tank leak at 0.38 litres per hour, it was never programmed to do so, alas it would never detect a leak.

So who or what is at fault, the product, well clearly not. The fuel system owner, the operator, the equipment supplier or the installer. That will be for the legal eagles but one thing is for sure, someone will pay. The pollution insurance underwriter will be seeking to subrogate costs!

The lesson learnt from this incident [which is not uncommon], if you have an ATG system, have it checked by experienced people and always demand a commissioning report from installation and ongoing status reports.