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Fuel Finding and Water Finding Paste Applications

April 11, 2023

Different methods are available to determine the volume of petroleum and petrochemicals in storage tanks. One of the simplest and visually evident techniques is using the combination of a gasoline level indicator paste to measure the volume of the product and a water level indicator paste to determine the presence of water in the bottom of the tank. These pastes can be applied in tandem to a measuring instrument, such as gauge tape with a plumb bob. Each paste will change color when coming in contact with either water or petroleum products.

The tank’s volume can be measured using an ullage or innage gauge. You apply the gasoline level indicator paste where you expect the product/air interface to be. The paste will change color upon product penetration, producing a decisive line of demarcation. This depth information will calculate how much product is in the tank.

Determining the presence of water in the tank requires an innage gauge. Water is heavier than most petroleum products and will settle to the bottom of the tank. You apply the water finding paste to the bottom of the measuring device. The volume of water is then calculated and subtracted from to the overall volume of the product to get the net volume of petroleum product.

Water in ethanol gasoline can present a problem as water will pull the ethanol out of suspension. The paste must react not only with the water but with the ethanol/water bottoms. This may require a special “modified” water finding paste or our all-encompassing water finder paste, McCabe H2O Plus+ Water Level Indicator Paste.

Gauge Tapes

Gauge tapes are popular for measuring liquid levels in large shore tanks and ship and barge tanks. They come certified with pre-marked US or Metric divisions and are used in combination with plumb bobs. Applying the water finding paste to a gauging tape with an innage bob is simple. All you do is spread the paste on the bob before lowering it into the tank. Once lowered to the bottom of the tank, the paste will react with the water by changing color, indicating the water depth.

Plumb Bobs (Innage and Outage/Ullage)

Plumb bobs are a heavy weight, typically made of brass, to avoid sparking with other metal objects and causing a possible explosion. In addition, there are innage bobs with pointed ends designed to penetrate the sludge and water at the bottom of the tank. There are also outage/ullage bobs that have a flat end that are meant to just penetrate the product.

Gauging Sticks or Rods

Sticks or rods are instruments marked in US or Metric divisions. They are an inexpensive and simple way to measure the liquid level in smaller storage tanks with a depth of 15 feet or less. Using our pastes with sticks or rods is similar to applying it on gauge tapes with bobs. You apply a small amount of paste(s) to the appropriate site(s) on the stick, then carefully lower it into the tank.

Partner With McCabe & Sons for High-Quality Indicator Pastes

McCabe & Sons offer our customers top-quality products for measuring water and fuel levels! Our company’s growth and expertise have enabled us to meet the highest standards in the industry. Over the years, we have enhanced our capabilities by engaging with service stations, petroleum terminals, refining facilities, pipeline companies, inspection companies and the barge and shipping industries.

Contact us now for more information on our high-quality indicator pastes!

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