To prepare underground tanks to store ethanol-blended fuel, care must be taken to eliminate water and remedy any causes of water buildup in tanks that will be used for ethanol-blended gasoline. Relatively small amounts of water in tanks can lead to phase separation. Your tank and lines must be clean because ethanol blends will “clean out” any remaining sludge from storage of gasoline and diesel fuel. Either of these factors are rarely a concern when converting tanks that had previously held ethanol-blended gasoline.
As with any other product, once the original cleaning is complete, good housekeeping will eliminate most potential problems. In addition to regular leak detection, be sure to check gaskets, fill caps, and tank lids, and remind transport drivers of the importance of replacing all of them correctly when making fuel deliveries. Periodic maintenance checks can help prevent leaks and component failures. If using an older dispenser, it is advisable to check them on a monthly basis regardless of what fuel is used.
E85 dispenser failures are almost unheard of, but fuel contamination problems have been reported with various ethanol blends. Use the proper nozzles, filters, and hoses. E85 fueling systems typically use non-aluminum nozzles, 10-micron dispenser filters, and an alcohol-compatible (e.g. Teflon-coated) hose.