What is diesel fuel contamination? Diesel fuel problems generally occur over time mostly due to lack of use of the fuel. Tanks that sit with fuel like in generator or marine applications usually have the most problems. Many forms of problems can develop over the life of fuel as it gets older it will develop to a point where it can cause major problems for your engine.
Mostly Contamination of the diesel is by water and/or dirt entering the fuel due to incorrect handling. You should take good care that the tank caps, fuel dispensing fillers and hoses should be kept free of contamination to reduce the chance of contamination entering the system. You should also remove i.e. drain off water from storage tanks and fuel filter bowls on a regular basis. When you get water into fuel rust from the tanks will dislodge from the walls and block filters very easily; the other problem associated with water entry is Algae and Bacteria.
Water is the catalyst that will allow these living organisms to grow and multiply in diesel fuel tanks. There is no way to keep water out of fuel tanks; the tank must be vented to atmosphere which is normal. When the day turns from night to day the cooler temperatures will cause water to form “condensate” on the inner walls of tanks. This water then simply drips into the fuel and contaminates your system. Keeping fuel tanks full can help to reduce this effect. Other than damage to engine fuel parts like injectors and fuel pumps you can also have engines that smoke, hard to start and have low power due to poor quality fuel. What could be worse than dirty diesel fuel stopping a power generator from working in a critical power outage or simply ruining a weekend fishing trip.
From this page you can download information on diesel fuel problems, storage problems, generator fuel considerations, diesel algae affects and filter information. The documents contain excellent information on the need to store and maintain diesel fuel in good condition and tips for maintaining. You will need a PDF reader to open and view the documents. Information provided courtesy of BP.