cleaning aviation fuel tanks

Considerations for Cleaning Aviation Fuel Tanks

Every aviation fuel tank requires periodic cleaning. Over time small amounts of water and other contaminants enter fuel tanks. Not only does this lead to fuel problems, but it also damages the inside of the tanks. Regular maintenance ensures you’re providing clean, clear fuel for your customers and identifies issues before they lead to major problems.

Frequently used fuel tanks require cleaning more often because residue and other contaminants are more likely to gather in the tank. Cleaning is also required for tanks that need to be filled with a different type of fuel than they currently hold or any time you suspect your fuel has been contaminated.

The process appears pretty simple on its head: empty the tank, clean the tank, rinse the tank, and dry the tank. The tank’s internal coating and condition and the type of fuel stored in the tank determine the products we use for cleaning.

For instance, a tank with an internal coating and no contamination requires little cleaning after visual inspection. However, an internally coated tank with areas of suspected or confirmed contamination requires a more thorough cleaning. Uncoated tanks may present with rust or corrosion which require removal and repair.

Are you still with us? We know discussions of cleaning fuel tanks is riveting information. It’s a lot more interesting to be in the tank cleaning off the scale and dirt, watching those walls turn from dirty to clean again. Before you dismiss a routine tank cleaning because of the time it takes, it’s important for you to understand why your tank needs to be cleaned and the process we go through to make sure it’s done right. Your pilots' lives depend on it.

Once we’ve cleaned the tanks, we’ll also dispose of the trash collected and water used to rinse your tanks as directed by the EPA.

Should the inside of your tanks require recoating or painting, we’ll take care of that job once the tank is fully cleaned and any necessary repairs made.


Finally, you’re ready to return your tank to service. We’ll reinstate and test all instruments and valves on the tank and reconnect and test all cables when we’ve completed the cleaning. All debris will be cleared from the tank, drains, and sumps. In fact, we have an entire check-list to complete before we turn the tank back over to you for service.


Many airports have experienced decreased traffic in 2020 due to COVID-19. The slow down makes now the perfect time to clean your tanks in preparation for increased business in 2021. To schedule your tank cleaning, call Rebel Services today at 662-512-0219.