Leaks from oil storage tanks are rare. Here are some points to follow to ensure your tank is as safe a s possible:
- Reduce pollution risk by siting fuel tanks and pipework as far away from drains, streams and ponds as possible.
- Provide secondary containment for your tank and its ancillary equipment even if you are not required by law to have it.
- If you’re having a new tank and/or pipe work installed use OFTEC registered installation technicians. This will ensure that the relevant British Standard, as well as the manufacturer’s installation instructions are followed.
- Make sure your tank has an ‘Oil Care’ notice stuck on it, with information about what you need to do in the event of a spillage. These should be supplied with new tanks. The tank should also be clearly labelled with the safe capacity and fuel type. If you
do not have one of these they are available from the Environment Agency.
- Inspect your tank, its ancillary equipment and pipework at least weekly for corrosion, damage, interference and signs of leaks.
- Use an OFTEC registered technician to service and inspect your boiler, tank, ancillary equipment and all pipework. This should be carried out at least once a year.
- Be alert to possible leaks by checking your oil usage pattern. A small leak can, over time, add up to a large loss of fuel. This is especially important if underground pipes are used.
- If you notice or suspect a leak get it investigated and repaired by your OFTEC registered technician immediately.
- Check your current fuel stocks carefully before re-ordering oil. Do not allow your tank to be overfilled.
- Never leave site gauge valves open. Don’t use site gauge valves that don’t close automatically. Only use auto-close British Standard sight gauge valves. The valve should only be activated when you take a level reading. If you want continuous level monitoring get suitable equipment installed and have the sight gauge removed.
- Always supervise your oil delivery. Discuss delivery procedures with your fuel delivery company, check that they are happy with your tank and its delivery arrangements from a health, safety and pollution perspective.
- If your tank has a fill point that is remote from the tank, secondary containment for the tank should be provided. In this situation, an overfill prevention alarm/device for the tank is a requirement of BS 5410 Part 1 1997, and a legal requirement of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 apply.
- Check your home insurance policy – you may not be covered for loss of oil or pollution clean up costs. Also check for any guarantees or warranties on any of the equipment.
- It’s a good idea to have an oil spill kit with absorbent materials, drain blockers and leak sealing putty to help you deal with a spill or leak.