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Tank gauging (volumetric measurement) has been done in many different ways with varying degrees of accuracy. Currently, most tank owners use one of two methods.

Method 1

Many tank owners decide to use a diptape or a dipstick to gauge their tanks. This requires a person to climb on top of the tank and drop one end of the tape/stick down to the tank and then check the liquid level/height against a chart. This is often done at least twice in order to verify the measurement. This method is quite simple and straightforward, but cannot be said to be very reliable.

  • Accuracy – The person using the tape could easily make a mistake.
  • Safety Risk– The person could fall off or into the tank, inhale noxious gases, or fall down the stairs leading up to the top of the tank.
  • Reliability– The person could record the wrong number, have difficult handwriting to read, or misread the tape.
  • Slow – The level information and data are slow getting to the decision maker.
  • Limited Data – No temperature readings, exact date and time, driver ID, truck ID, leak detection, or high and low level alarms, can be recorded accurately. Not to mention, data can be falsified or missing. (Skimming, theft, etc.)


Method 2

Many tank owners install a gauge that can be read from outside of the tank, and at eye level so anyone can see the tank level at any time. This method also requires the person to record the level information at the tank battery. This method is safer than using a stick or a tape, but also not very reliable. This is also.

  • Accuracy – The outside gauges can get stuck, broken, are are rarely re-calibrated.
  • Reliability – The person could record the wrong number, misread the gauge, and have difficult handwriting to read.
  • Slow – The level information and data are slow getting back to the decision maker.
  • Limited Application – limited to above ground tanks and cannot be utilized in underground tanks
  • Limited Data – No temperature readings, exact date and time, driver ID, truck ID, leak detection, high and low level alarms can be recorded accurately. Not to mention data can be falsified or missing. (Skimming, theft, etc.)


Automatic Tank Gauging

Using an Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) has replaced manual dip-stick measuring as the preferred inventory control solution for retail fuel sites with underground fuel storage tanks. A single ATG panel/console can be connected to probes and electric line leak detectors across multiple tanks to manage an entire fuel site’s inventory. The tank probes accurately measure the amount and temperature of any fuel or water in a tank and report it back to the ATG.

There are four primary functions of an ATG:

  • Inventory control and measurement (Up to Custody Transfer levels)
  • Leak detection
  • Compliance tracking
  • Flow rate monitoring


Inventory Control

Fuel site owners using an Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) are able to accurately assess the amount of fuel currently available for dispensing in each tank. By checking the inventory daily, an owner is able to understand their sites’ business cycles, how much inventory they need on hand, and when they need to schedule deliveries. Tight inventory control can help identify variances in fuel amounts that might be caused by inaccurate deliveries, malfunctioning equipment, or theft.

By connecting all the ATGs on a fuel network to a remote viewing platform, owners are able to see the inventory status and variance of all their sites at once. The advanced reporting features enable deeper insight into inventory cycles and delivery scheduling across the entire network.


Leak Detection

An Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) can perform the leak detection test by taking product level and temperature readings nearly continuously for a set period of time to determine if a changing product level may be due to a leak. Some ATGs perform both Statistical and Continuous Statistical Leak Detection by taking inventory readings over the course of a set period whenever there is no pumping action. The system statistically analyses the data to determine if the tank is tight or leaking.

Once all the ATGs on a fuel network are connected to a remote viewing and management platform, an owner will automatically receive an alarm if any sites on the network detect a leak. The owner will also have leak test results at their fingertips.


Compliance Tracking

Compliance is an important aspect of running a gas station as a failed inspection may result in downtime or fines. An Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) system can help an owner detect leaks, test pump flow rates, and record inventory reconciliation. Installing an ATG system not only helps a station owner perform compliance tests, but it can also help maintain the documentation necessary to supply inspectors. Many tank gauges include a printer for creating physical documentation at set times.

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