Water found in diesel tank

Reports of water content in diesel started pouring in after the recent flash floods

Fuel: Diesel samples from the fuel depot in Trongsa will be sent for laboratory tests to Thimphu to confirm if it contained water following reports of vehicles breaking down after the fueling at the station.

Two vehicles, an Eicher truck and a Bolero camper broke down yesterday a few minutes after fueling from the Bhutan Oil Distributor (BOD) station. While the truck broke down before reaching town, the Bolero camper conked out in Thruepang. A third car, which also refilled at the station, reported no problem.

The dispenser has a capacity of 20,000 liters.

“The fuel dispenser was full of water when I checked,” the bolero camper owner said.

Regional trade and industry office  (RTIO) director, Aiman Mahat who was in the field to inspect the case said reports of water content in diesel started pouring in after the recent flash floods. Actions were also taken soon after the complaints were lodged.

“Recently, the tank was drained of around 2,500 liters of diesel after manual tests found some water content in it,” Aiman Mahat said.

According to a trade inspector, R B Gurung, the tank was drained of its water content after water content variation reached 4 cm. The inspector said that water variation in diesel below 8 cm is permissible for usage in vehicles.

“Draining out water was advised because it’s a routine practice in fuel depot to avoid reaching impermissible limit of 8 cm through long-term accumulation,” R B Gurung said.

According to BOD staff, the water seemed to have gotten in to the tank after debris from recent floodwaters from nearby drain battered the dispenser’s pipe. The pipe however was mended immediately.

“It is now difficult to say if there is a leakage in the tank underground or if these vehicles had used fuel from other illegal sources,” a BOD staff said.

Meanwhile, spot manual tests by RTIO following the complaints yesterday found water content variation and corresponding density still under permissible limit. The inspector also conducted the same test yesterday morning before permitting BOD to use the diesel from 20kl tank.

While the water content variation was 3 cm, its corresponding density was 0.7 gram per cubic centimeter. “Both water content variation and corresponding density was within the permissible limit even in the morning,” R B Gurung said.

Minus three to plus three is the permissible corresponding density in Trongsa’s elevation. The samples of diesel from the tank will however be sent to Thimphu for further confirmations.

“Actions will be taken based on the lab test findings,” Aiman Mahat said. The pump has been sealed for now.

By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa

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