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Old 12-05-2008, 01:28 AM   #1
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Hello All

Don't ask how we just did it. Fuel in the water tank about 5 gallons worth in a 70 gallon water tank. Now the problem of how to get it out. Has anyone had the same problem, if so how did you get it out. We have very little access to the tank although if we take some furniture out (hard to do) we can get at the top of the tank which does have a small port. The only thing I can think of is to pour dish detergent into the tank and pump it into a safe container. All idea's will be appreciated.

Thanks

Minisailor
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:30 AM   #2
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Hello All

Don't ask how we just did it. Fuel in the water tank about 5 gallons worth in a 70 gallon water tank. Now the problem of how to get it out. Has anyone had the same problem, if so how did you get it out. We have very little access to the tank although if we take some furniture out (hard to do) we can get at the top of the tank which does have a small port. The only thing I can think of is to pour dish detergent into the tank and pump it into a safe container. All idea's will be appreciated.

Thanks

Minisailor
The fuel will float, so you can pull some of it off the top (siphon via your small port) and dispose of it. Then, you'll have a mix for sure of water and fuel which simply needs to be evacuated as you've noted. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:56 AM   #3
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this is a possibly bad suggestion, but I'm offering it in the spirit of experimentation.

I hate the smell of diesel, and I'm not the only person who has found that diesel will foul containers and pots and pans used to catch it during one maintenance chore or another. A stainless steel cooking pot will be unusable for a long time after it's been used to hold diesel. I would think that your water tank will be fouled for quite some time, so this suggestion is offered in the hope that the contamination might be mitigated somewhat. The caveat is that I have never tried this. I would be interested in knowing, if you choose to try it, how well it works.

As Brenda suggests, you can probably siphon off some of the diesel through the inspection port. Find the top of the liquid line with a stick inserted into the port (it will be most evident if you tie a paper towel around the stick first. Then mark the siphon or hose that you insert to remove the diesel - so that you take as much diesel, as little water, as possible, from the top of the tank.

Continue drawing from the top of the liquid line (or just below the diesel line) until you're reasonably certain that most of the diesel has been drawn out. Then try an oil zorb fabric inserted into the tank through that inspection port, again keeping it at the top of the liquid line. Since these fabrics do not absorb water, but only diesel or oil, you will have a reasonable chance of removing most of the last of the diesel.

Then use dishwashing liquid to disperse the diesel clinging to the sides of the tank, again removing the liquid from the top of the tank, probably adding water to keep the liquid level from dropping down and thus adding diesel to the previously uncontaminated sides of the tank. When you feel you have pretty much gotten the diesel out, including what would have clung to the sides of the tank, drain the tank, fill with detergent and water, let it sit with the inspection port open. then drain and rinse. If you can still smell diesel (horrible stuff), do it again.

The problem with water tanks is that the interior baffles will provide lots of surface area to be contaminated and make it difficult to get all those nasty drops of diesel out completely, so my strategy is to keep it from coating the sides of the tank and baffles as the water level is drawn down, as it would if you simply drained the tank.

Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for your help and suggestions. Today I removed the necessary furniture and gained access to the top of the tank and they took the inspection plate off. Once this was done I removed all the oil and then the water. With the furniture gone I can reach all areas of the tank so tomorrow I will get started with the cleaning using lots of dish detergent and maybe a final wipe with bleach to kill what grows.

Thanks again for all your help

Minisailor
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:56 PM   #5
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Thanks for your help and suggestions. Today I removed the necessary furniture and gained access to the top of the tank and they took the inspection plate off. Once this was done I removed all the oil and then the water. With the furniture gone I can reach all areas of the tank so tomorrow I will get started with the cleaning using lots of dish detergent and maybe a final wipe with bleach to kill what grows.

Thanks again for all your help

Minisailor
I'm glad you're able to get at it all! We have a copper tank which sits under our main saloon seat (70 gallons) which started life as a fuel tank and someone converted it to a water tank 30 years ago. I cannot imagine how they got all that diesel smell/taste out of there. Lucky for us that it was a long time ago!

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Old 12-11-2008, 07:35 PM   #6
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If you can do so, let the tank flood for a while.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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A good method of final rinsing is to fill the tank with fresh water and a liberal dose of dishwasher rinse aid. The rinse aid is non toxic, non tasting and reduces the surface tension of the water. This lets the floating oil, (and there will be plenty for many refills unless steam cleaned)to sink and emilsify. Once it has done this you are well on the way to removing the taste and smell because the oil exits the tank instead of hanging on the sides .

You might want to use a dash of rinse aid all season to purge it.

I hope this advise is not too late!!

good luck.
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