Posted: 17 Oct 2011

Commercial airports are subject to IATA standards and have tough standards to attain and keep IATA accreditation. For the aviation fuel hydrant system at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Atmos supplied a statistical tightness monitoring system that surpasses the API standard of 0.04 l/hr/m3 (API 1540).

The most difficult part of the test is the practical side of controlling a leak that is so small; an 80m3volume of pipe the leak equates to filling a single 2-liter bottle of coke in one hour. During our initial testing, we extracted fluid equating to half the standard (0.02 l/hr/m3) and still detected the extraction.

During the testing many natural and manmade impediments got in the way: lightning storms made extracting jet fuel dangerous; some tests had to be aborted. One day we turned up to find that all the block valve covers had just been painted; that was it for the day. However, the most unexpected abortive test was when we were testing a section where unbeknown to us, one of the valves was being tested. We were expecting a negative test, but Atmos gave an alarm. On trending the data it was found that the ‘leak’ was at a boundary block valve and, after further investigation, it was found that the valve was being tested - “Atmos system confirms that work is being carried out”.