Ending Corrosion Problems in Ethanol Gasoline Storage

Rusty Ethanol Containment System

Corrosion on underground ethanol gasoline storage tank components is a big problem facing service stations and convenience stores with ethanol gas pumps. In 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a nationwide report indicating that ethanol-blended gasolines were rapidly corroding many gasoline storage tank components such as sump pumps. NIST observed that Acetobacter aceti bacteria was likely converting ethanol vapors to acetic acid, which subsequently was causing severe corrosion on below-ground steel and cast-iron components. If left unchecked, this corrosion could lead to leaks in gas storage tank systems that could contaminate groundwater at some of the nation’s 500,000 service stations.

Terry Grapes has been a supervisor with Severson Oil in Minnesota for 35 years, and he is well aware of the challenges of maintaining the sump pump containment systems that move gasoline from the underground storage tanks to the pump handles. 

“Corrosion in these systems has been a big problem ever since the first ethanol blends were introduced more than a decade ago, and the corrosion is particularly aggressive if water is also finding its way into the containment system,” said Grapes. “In early 2019, we did our routine inspection of our systems and found several of them to be corroded throughout – including the piping and conduits. I contacted our Fluoramics rep and asked him which of his rust preventatives could stop this rust from progressing. A few days later, he met me at one of the locations. We used a brush to apply HinderRUST® HV100 to all surfaces in the system. That was nearly three years ago, and the corrosion has been completely halted. You can see how the HinderRUST migrated across all the surfaces and has formed a barrier to stop corrosion.” 

Two years ago, Grapes completely renovated the containment systems at one of his stores, putting in three new sump systems. Once these were installed, he sprayed all the surfaces with HinderRUST HV100 Aerosol.

Ending Corrosion Problems in Ethanol Gasoline Storage

Newly installed ethanol pump, treated with HinderRUST, January 2020

Ending Corrosion Problems in Ethanol Gasoline Storage

Same ethanol pump, 359 days later, shows no sign of corrosion.

“Today they look as good as new – no rust whatsoever,” says Grapes. “We even sprayed the inside of the spill bucket lids, and these, too, remain rust-free.

“Independent service stations like ours are all battling these corrosion problems, and the cost of putting in a new containment system can easily run more than $5,000, so we are very motivated to maximize the functional life of our systems. HinderRUST is obviously an important tool in achieving this. We try to reapply HinderRUST spray on a quarterly basis, and this has effectively put an end to our rust problems in each of these systems.”

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