October 31, 2011 8:41 pm

Ion Science PID detectors available from Air-Met Scientific Pty Ltd use photoionisation detection (PID) technology to detect hazardous VOCs at ppb levels.

General leakage in fuel storage
Given that fuel is inherently hazardous, highly volatile and readily flammable within its vapour phase, fuel storage facilities need to employ safety measures to ensure leaks are detected well before the quantities of fuel needed to cause an explosion escape.

Fuel storage facilities are also at risk of much smaller leaks that may go undetected for long periods, but can also lead to environmental problems and significant health concerns. Aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene and toluene are known carcinogens, while other hydrocarbons and petrol additives represent health risks.

The need for regular monitoring
Fuel storage facilities, especially underground storage tanks can contaminate groundwater resources in the event of a leak.

International research in 1990 estimated that at least 25% of the millions of underground storage tanks containing fuels and chemicals could be leaking to some degree. Water supplies are liable to get contaminated if hazardous components of petrol such as benzene get into groundwater.

Environmental contamination is also bound to occur when benzene and other chemicals are released into the air as a result of leaks caused by degradation, damage or corrosion in aboveground storage tanks.

Benzene is a highly carcinogenic chemical that can also attack the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain, and can cause DNA strand breaks and chromosomal damage. Additives to petrol such as anti-knock chemicals are also known carcinogens.

While a petrol leak likely to cause an explosion would be readily smelled, a small leak might not be noticed yet could still pose a significant health risk.

Though newer tanks and pipe work are fitted with leak detection systems, existing tanks in perfectly serviceable condition may not have fuel leak detectors. Since replacing these tanks may not be financially viable, it is important to ensure regular monitoring to detect even the smallest of leaks before it becomes a major problem.

Facility monitoring using PID VOC detectors
The PhoCheck Tiger from Ion Science is a range of PID detectors that provide a simple and cost-effective solution to regular monitoring of fuel storage facilities.

Photoionisation detection (PID) is a proven technology for the detection of volatile organic compounds and other hazardous chemicals at ppb levels. The PhoCheck Tiger photoionisation detectors offer one of the widest detection ranges among VOC detectors on the market.

Key features of Ion Science PhoCheck Tiger PID detectors: 

  • Robust, handheld instrument
  • Provides a dynamic detection range of 1ppb to 20,000ppm
  • Employs advanced patented Fence Electrode technology to provide increased resistance to humidity and contamination
  • Ready to use instantly without complex set-up procedures

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