To: All Heads of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: April 7, 2006
Re: Reformulated Gasoline

The current gasoline additive MTBE is being phased out in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England. The MTBE additive is being replaced with ethanol.

After the conversion, gasoline will contain 10% ethanol (E10). This should not be confused with motor fuel containing 85% ethanol (E85). The E85 fuel was the subject of a recent email advisory from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

In preparation for the conversion, most underground storage tank owners are having their tanks cleaned. This cleaning process is conducted by petroleum or tank service companies. There are several cleaning processes currently being used. During these processes sludge and water is removed from the tanks. Because ethanol acts as a solvent, failure to clean the tanks may result in significantly compromised fuel being introduced into vehicles. This would be of particular concern for emergency vehicles.

If you have any questions regarding the conversion to E10 or the cleaning processes, please contact the Code Compliance & Enforcement Unit at 978-567-3375 or in western Massachusetts at 413-587-3181

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