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PART 1 – FAQ’s On Oil Storage Tanks

Picture of oil tank

What types of oil storage tanks are available?

There are three generic types of oil storage tanks:

  • single skin (which may be installed in a reinforced concrete or masonry bund)
  • double skin (predominantly commercial underground applications (USTs))
  • integrally bunded (above ground and within buildings)

Oil storage tanks are made of steel or polyethylene and can be supplied in a range of shapes and sizes to suit the site requirements.

Will my storage tank require any servicing or regular maintenance?

During a service visit, the oil engineer should check your oil storage tanks and oil supply pipes. The service engineer should inspect the tank for water contamination, clean or replace the oil filter and visually check accessible fittings for oil leaks.

If you have a steel tank, you may need to paint it to prevent corrosion.

What is a bund?

A bund (or catchpit) is a secondary containment system designed to prevent fuel lost from the tank escaping into the environment. Bunds may be constructed from masonry or concrete to contain a single-skin oil storage tank and must be able to hold at least 110% of the tank’s contents should a leak or overspill occur. Integrally bunded oil storage tank systems are available and are a practical solution.

Does a domestic oil storage tank require secondary containment (bunding)?

Under building regulations for England and Wales, if the oil storage tank’s capacity is:

  • Over 2500 litres – it must have secondary containment (bunding)
  • Up to 2500 litres – it may need bunding depending on the outcome of an individual site pollution risk assessment. A single skin tank would only be allowed where there is no risk of oil reaching for example, a watercourse, water extraction point or aquifer after a release of oil from the tank.

Your local OFTEC-registered tank installer will be able to make a fire and pollution risk assessment and advise on the type of tank most suitable for an installation.

What is controlled water?

Controlled waters are rivers, streams, lakes, canals, coastal waters, estuaries and groundwater. It refers to all water which is below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil.

An oil tank pollution risk assessment should also consider any ditches, soakaways, septic tanks and gullies which could pollute groundwater or reach controlled waters. Environment Agency defined Special Protection Zones (water abstraction points and aquifers) should be equally protected from oil leakage.

Can I disguise my storage tank with a screen?

Yes, screening of domestic oil storage tanks is permitted. You should allow enough space for service access for inspection of the tank and filter maintenance, etc. British Standards require a minimum of 600 mm separation between a tank and screening. If the screening forms part of the property boundary, the separation should be 760 mm unless a fire barrier is erected.

Can I install an oil storage tank inside?

Yes. Under British Standards a domestic oil storage tank up to 3500 litres capacity may be installed within a building so long as the tank has secondary containment, such as an integrally bunded oil storage tank, the tank is contained within a one-hour fire-resistant chamber and is located at the lowest possible level. The chamber should contain nothing but the tank and be ventilated to the outside.

Can I install an oil storage tank underground?

If an underground oil storage tank is to be directly buried below ground it should be specifically constructed for underground use and should be installed strictly to the manufacturer’s instructions. The recommendations in the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidance note PPG 27 should be followed and planning permission may also be required.

Look out next week for FAQ’s On Oil Storage Tanks Part 2.

Source: OFTEC

Whether you require a new storage tank, the replacement of an existing tank, or simply some friendly advice, Barton Petroleum offer a range of products and services. Click here to find out more about our range of oil tanks.