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Fuel Leak Detection


An aging system triggered system engineers to search for an updated leak monitoring system for fuel storage tanks at Vandenberg AFB. The system engineers needed to replace the leak detection equipment that was obsolete and expensive to maintain. Voler was chosen to design, manufacture and install a new reliable system.

The new system is now installed; has been operating for months, and is reliable. This new system addressed operational safety concerns and reduces the risk of loss of life and equipment.

Voler replaced the entire leak monitoring system, providing new pressure sensors and a data logger, which is directly connected to a grid of sensors with a battery backup. The basis of this system is a pressure transducer that is installed at each fuel tank. There are six tanks at each of two locations for a total of twelve tanks and twelve pressure transducers. The pressure transducers measure two items. First, the transducers measure the absolute pressure. When the pressure gets too high or too low, it indicates a problem. It might be overfilled or empty, neither one should happen. Second, the transducers measure the rate of change, which is the main indication of leakage. If the pressure changes rapidly, it means that there is a leak in the system. The rate of change has two levels; a warning level and an alarm level. The warning level allows the local technician to know what is marginal, and the alarm level calls the on-base fire department and the remote office.

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Voler setup PCs at each location that display and relay the information to a central office to monitor remotely. These local systems monitor the conditions constantly and notify authorized personnel immediately if there is any problem (warning alarm). This configuration was chosen for redundancy and reliability. If any PCs were to go down, everything would work fine. The PCs are there for convenience, not for any of the critical monitoring. The data logger software is a customized off-the-shelf product. The PC software was custom written by Voler to display a graphic of the tanks with the pressure and rate-of-change shown on the graphic. There are color changes for warnings, alarms, and when alarms are disabled (for fuel transfer).



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