ATS Invents New ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor

By May 22, 2018
ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor

Introduction to the ACTv2

ATS Environmental & Detection Devices LLC invented the new ACTv2 ethanol and diesel fuel water sensor. The ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor is the only water sensor on the market which tests for the intrusion of water in tanks/vessels containing Ethanol blended fuels. In addition, the latest version of the ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor is the only certified device for this testing purpose. Independent, third-party certification was obtained that meets the requirements specified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alternative test protocols. The certification tests were based on the procedures described in the EPA protocols which are derived from the federal regulations for environmental issues.

Water Intrusion Testing of Underground Storage Tanks

One form of leak detection for underground storage tanks is to use an acoustical testing device. An acoustical device sucks in air to see if there is any air entering an underground tank. If there is air entering inside the tank, then the noise it creates during the test will be detected by the acoustical device. If the tank leak is located below the underground water table, then the testing device will not suck air into the tank. Instead it will suck water into the tank, and the acoustical device will not hear any air entering the tank. This is why the ACTv2 is unique among all other acoustical testing devices worldwide: The ACTv2 is the only device that has a sensor capable of detecting water in ethanol blended fuels. No other testing device in the world can match this water detection ability.

How does it work? First a vacuum is created inside the underground tank. A vacuum is a sealed system so no air can go in or out of the tank. This is accomplished by sealing the standard openings (caps, lids, valves) in the tank, and then the pressure is lowered inside. When the pressure is lower inside the tank, the higher (normal) pressure outside the tank will force air into the tank if there are any openings or cracks. If the tank leak is below the water table, the vacuum pressure condition will force water into the tank instead of air.

Prior to the ACTv2 device, ethanol fuel was not able to be accurately tested for water intrusion using an acoustical device. This was due to the limitations of the existing testing devices on the market. Water is heavier than gasoline, and water does not mix with gasoline fuel. As a result, when water enters a fuel tank it sinks to the bottom of the tank. However, ethanol absorbs water which makes it very difficult to detect water intrusion into tanks containing ethanol blended fuels.

ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor

Most ethanol blended fuels are 10-15% ethanol and the rest is gasoline. The ACTv2 device is certified for testing up to 15% ethanol blended fuels. When there are higher percentage levels of ethanol, then no device can test accurately for water intrusion. This is because high percentage levels of ethanol in fuel will absorb water faster then that water can be detected. When ethanol fuels absorb water, it causes Phase Separation and the ethanol separates from the gas and the fuel becomes unusable. Water always sinks to the bottom of fuel tanks. The ethanol molecules holding water will also sink to the bottom of the tank. When there is Phase Separation in the fuel, it causes all three chemical compounds (water, ethanol, and gasoline) to be pumped into truck/car gas tanks. The water in the fuel then damages the combustion engines of vehicles, leading to very costly engine repairs!

The ACTv2 Device is in a Class by Itself

Underground fuel tanks are often located partly below the water table which is acceptable for environmental regulations in most states. For example, in New Jersey about 65% of underground tanks are sitting in water, which is acceptable according to state regulations. Since no other testing devices in the world are certified for detecting water in ethanol blended fuels, there is no way for those devices to determine if the ethanol is absorbing water inside tanks. Only the ACTv2 device can detect the water entering a tank, no other device can. As a result, if you do not use the certified ACTv2 for testing, the federal and state environmental regulators could question or invalidate your test results.

Every water sensor in the world requires that a conductive liquid (like water) be in the bottom of the tank for the water testing device to function. ATS Environmental & Detection Devices LLC invented a product called HydroBal ™, which is a conductive liquid used to test underground fuel tanks. By using this proprietary product, the ACTv2 is able to detect water intrusion coming from outside the tank during the test.

Ethanol fuel has been used in some countries, like Brazil, since 1976. The United States became the world’s largest producer of ethanol fuel in 2005. Prior to the introduction of ethanol fuel, water sensor devices worked fine because they only had to detect water intrusion into tanks of gasoline. Gasoline and water don’t mix, and gas does not absorb water. In ethanol blended fuel tanks there is no water because it gets absorbed by the ethanol. (The only time this will not occur is if there is a large amount of water entering the tank and the ethanol cannot absorb it all.) As a result, older testing devices require that water is added into the ethanol fuel tank to assist those older devices during the test process. This is very risky because ethanol absorbs water. The risk of Phase Separation is high when you add water into an ethanol blended fuel tank to test with older devices!

When you do not test with the certified ACTv2 device, environmental regulators will ask:

    1. How do we know your device can detect water in ethanol, and that the water was not absorbed by the ethanol without being detected?
    2. If you added water as the test conductive liquid, then how do you know you did not cause Phase Separation?

Don’t Risk causing Phase Separation!

There are times when an ethanol fuel tank has been tested using a water sensor and a few days later the fuel phase separates. The possible causes are as follows:

  1. Your water sensor test did not detect the intrusion of water causing a phase separation.
  2. It rained after your visit and water entered the tank because of a loose cap or fitting, etc. causing a phase separation.
  3. There was a fuel delivery after your test, and because of water unknowingly included in that fuel delivery, it caused a phase separation. This is due to either water in the residual fuel or water at the base of the tank. Actually, it was the fuel delivery that caused the problem, but the tank tester could easily be blamed if they had added water to the tank in order to conduct a water intrusion test.

Why use the ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor?

The ACTv2 device can be used with any acoustical testing system for underground fuel tank leak detections (gas station tanks, heating oil tanks, kerosene, Jet A fuel, etc.). Any fuel tank/vessel that is underground needs to be tested on a regular basis for leak detection and water intrusion.

  • The ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor is the only water sensor that has been certified for use with ethanol fuels, in addition to most other fuel types! The ACTv2 sensor has the ability to detect the presence or ingress of water at the bottom of an underground storage tank containing motor fuels including diesel fuel, E0 gasoline and ethanol fuels containing up to 15% ethanol.
  • It is easy to use and is a portable, battery operated system.
  • Since ethanol absorbs water, there is no way of knowing if your older water sensor device is detecting water entering the tank before the ethanol absorbs the water coming in from outside the tank. As a result, because there is no way to know if the water sensor you are using has detected the water before it was absorbed, this invalidates an acoustical test of an underground tank.
  • Unlike the ACTv2, most other sensor devices require that water be added to the tank as part of the test. When you add water to an ethanol fuel you run the risk of causing a phase separation of the fuel. Phase separation will make the fuel in the tank unusable!!

Be safe, not sorry – use the certified ACTv2 for your business. Want to buy one of these revolutionary devices for your environmental testing company? We sell our devices to customers worldwide. Call us for a price quote to buy the ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor tank testing device or the MESA 2D tank testing device.

Interested in learning more about the ACTv2 Ethanol & Diesel Water Sensor?

Send me a quote!

About the Author

ATS Environmental
ATS Environmental

ATS Environmental offers environmental solutions for residential properties as well as compliance testing and inspections of underground and aboveground storage tanks for commercial enterprises.

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