Disaster has been averted once more by a vigilant wrong fuel customer, Alan, who called us out to a job in Bromsgrove. His elderly father had unfortunately managed to put the wrong fuel into his diesel Citroen C4. The car originally had half a tank of diesel in it and had then had about ten litres of unleaded petrol added to it before the mistake had been registered. Alan’s father had then driven the car back to his home and had broken down just up the street from his driveway. A neighbour helped him to push the car onto the drive where he then intended to try to drain the fuel tank himself to remove the contaminated fuel. Alan arrived on the scene to find his father using a pump powered by an electric drill and a length of rubber tube to siphon the fuel from the tank. Petrol is a volatile liquid and the fumes were very strong around the fuel tank and receptacle being used to contain the contaminated fuel, our eagle eyed customer spotted that every time his father used the drill to operate the pump, the motor would spark! As you will undoubtedly be aware, petrol and sparks are not a good combination and there was a huge risk of an explosion every time the drill was actuated. Only the fact that there was a stiff breeze on that day meant that a terrible incident was averted. His father had been about to move the operation into the garage as it was beginning to rain. That would almost certainly have been an extremely bad idea. Had the fuel being drained been purely diesel, well then the risk is nowhere near as severe because diesel is far less volatile than petrol.
Alan called us for advice and asked if we could send one of our mobile units over to assist. Our expert engineer arrived on the scene 30 minutes later to remove the remaining contaminated fuel from the tank and to help dispose of the fuel that had already been drained. Many motorists are unaware that there are strict rules governing the handling, transportation and disposal of contaminated fuel. The penalties for those caught handling a restricted substance without the correct dispensation from the Environment Agency, can be severe and a lack of awareness is seldom accepted as an excuse. Our engineers are fully licensed and can safely dispose of contaminated fuel at a refinement station where the liquid can be refined to separate the mixed petrol and diesel.
Please be aware that a vehicle fuel drain and disposal of the contaminated fuel should only be handled by an expert. The risks involved in not using equipment specifically designed for the job, are too great and often result in a tragic disaster which could be easily avoided.