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E-10 Ethanol: DNREC Letter to Tank Owners


Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Tank Management Branch
391 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE  19720
302-395-2500 (phone)
302-395-2555 (fax)


Dear Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Owners and Operators:

Gasoline delivered to your station from Delaware area refineries may soon be blended with ethanol instead of MTBE.  There are a variety of reasons for this switch, but the important point we are writing to you about today is to alert you and help you avoid potential problems for your storage tanks systems and your customers’ cars.  The switch to ethanol could occur sometime between mid-March and mid-May 2006.  Delaware law limits the amount of ethanol to 10% (E10).   Contact your supplier as soon as possible to determine their conversion plans.  Your fuel supplier may also assist you by supplying information and arranging for tank cleaning services.

What does this mean for you as a tank owner?

Tank preparation appears to be the key to limiting problems with storing and dispensing ethanol blends.  Ethanol is a good cleaning agent and will loosen scale buildup on tank walls and mobilize sludge in the bottom of the tank, which will clog filters. Also, if there is any amount of water in your tank, the ethanol will separate from the gas, sink to the bottom of the tank, and could damage your customers’ cars.  If, however, the tank is properly cleaned, proper filters are used, and water is kept out of the tank, cars should have no problems.

We have provided some web links for more information (over) and an ethanol fact sheet and checklist.  Following the recommended procedures should minimize any problems with your tank system.  If you have any questions regarding the compatibility of your tank system or manufacturer warranties, check with your equipment supplier for specific information. 

You will be receiving a letter from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Motor Fuel Tax Administration, detailing their specific requirements for allowable percentages of ethanol, dispenser labeling and licensing.  Please contact Mike Harrell of DelDOT at 302-744-2730 if you have any questions.

DNREC will post information and ethanol related internet links on the Department website, beginning March 15, 2006.  Please check back often for updated information as the issue is evolving on a daily basis.  If you have any questions regarding storage tanks and E10 please contact Peter Rollo of the Tank Management Branch at 302-395-2500. 


Alex Rittberg
Program Manager, Tank Management Branch

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