insights

Russell Dupuy 02 Jul 2018 By Russell Dupuy

Could your fuel tanks be leaking — right now?

Fuel sites are hectic places. Between serving customers, reconciling cash and data, and adhering to safety regulations, there’s plenty to keep the staff occupied.

But it’s here, in the fast-paced chaos, that something risky — I’d even go so far as to say insidious — lurks. Something that has the potential to cripple businesses and make an EPA agent reach for their smelling salts…

Tank leaks.

They can happen at any time. And it’s impossible to know you’ve got one until you’re forced to do an audit.

And by then, it’s too late.

So why don’t more fuel sites put in place better methods to detect leaks?

Obviously, it’s not easy to keep tabs on something that’s buried underground. Lack of visibility is a constant hindrance, whether you’re large or small in the fuel game.

And too often, it’s seen as a problem that’s not worth the cost to fix.

But when there are so many potential causes of leaks — from installation errors to issues with transportation, fuel lines, or rust —  you simply can’t be sure that you’re not at risk.

Tank leaks do happen, whether you’re aware of them or not.

Fuel tank leaks

Which of your tanks could be leaking without you knowing?

Can you afford to have a leaking tank (and not know about it)?

An underground tank leak means hydrocarbons leaking into soil, and possibly groundwater. The health, safety and environmental consequences are not to be underestimated.

Then there’s the lost revenue. Fuel that’s leaking is fuel that you can’t sell. And if you can’t see that one of your tanks is leaking, then you won’t know until you balance your books and discover costly variances.

And then there’s the EPA. They — or whichever environmental protection body that you’re answerable to — do not take to fuel pollution lightly. Fines in the millions of dollars await those unfortunate operators that get found out during an audit.

How do you find out if you’ve got a leak?

Let me walk you through two very different scenarios:

1. In the first scenario, you don’t have accurate visibility over your fuel tanks. Months go by after they’ve been installed until one day, the EPA knocks on your door to tell you that they’re doing an audit. During this process, they find high amounts of hydrocarbons in the soil. You’ve got a leak.

The vagueness of the testing means that the leak could have come from anywhere. So you have to put all your tanks on hold. With a large, business-breaking fine from the EPA hanging over your head, you’ve also got to shut down your operations while you search for the tank that’s leaking. During the EPA investigation, every single area of soil is tested, every tank is checked, and the costs just keep piling up.

2. Now here’s a second scenario: you have software that monitors your tanks constantly. Some time after tanks have been installed, you get an automatic notification that one of them is leaking. You immediately close off that one particular tank while the issue is resolved. It’s still an irritating, unexpected expense, but it’s not the end of the world.

The EPA isn’t breathing down your neck. You’ve found the issue before it could seriously contaminate the soil. You’re not facing an astronomical fine. And it’s business-as-usual within the week.

Does door number two sound preferable?

With fuel site management software like Fuelsuite, you can have full visibility over all your fuel sites from absolutely anywhere.

Remote monitoring and real-time updates give you a constant stream of information about the status of every single fuel tank, at every single fuel site.

If there’s a leak, you’ll know about it straight away.

Real-time remote fuel monitoring alerts you to a leaking tank instantly

Not only does Fuelsuite ensure that you’re not taking unnecessary risks with leaking tanks, but it also:

  • Guarantees compliance
  • Accounts for the various stock loses
  • Speeds up reporting.

Overall, it saves you time and money.

So, with the latest advancements refining this technology, tank monitoring is no longer a luxurious “nice-to-have” — it’s become a cost-effective “must-have”.

Time to get proactive

Want to know more about how Fuelsuite can benefit your business?

Contact EMS today to talk about how you can eliminate uncertainty and risk in your business.