Now’s the time to check your oil tank
It feels like autumn is already here and many households will soon be getting oil delivered ready for winter.
It is also the time of year when the Environment Agency urges people to check their oil tanks to protect the environment and reduce the risk of potentially large financial losses.
Leaked oil can end up in drains, many of which lead directly to rivers, streams, lakes and even garden ponds, having the same effect as pouring it directly into the watercourse.
Oil is poisonous to fish and other wildlife and smothers plants. Just 2 litres of oil could seriously pollute the volume of fresh water needed to fill an olympic-size swimming pool.
Senior Environment Officer Brian Grant said:
Heating oil can cause serious problems if it gets into the environment. But it’s not just the cost of losing the oil that can be expensive, clean up costs can be large and are not always covered by household insurance policies.
This is why it is vital that oil is only ever stored in tanks that are in good condition. Both the tank and pipe work should be regularly inspected and people should never buy more oil than they can safely store.
Householders with domestic oil tanks should take the following action to ensure they are safe for use:
- site tanks as far away as possible from drains, streams and ponds
- inspect tanks, pipes and other equipment for leaks, damage and interference once a week - any problems should be fixed as soon as possible by an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) technician
- arrange for the boiler and tank to be serviced at least once a year by an (OFTEC) technician - this should include any underground pipe work
- monitor how much oil they use - if the volume of oil being used suddenly increases, there could be a leak
- supervise oil deliveries - people should never allow their tank to be overfilled and should not order more oil than they can safely store
- check their home insurance covers clean up costs on both their property and neighbouring land - always notify insurers immediately in the event of a spill or suspected spill
- if a tank starts leaking householders should try to stop the oil soaking into the ground or going down drains - they should contact their insurance company to arrange for an OFTEC technician or UKSpill-accredited clean-up company
- secondary containment (such as a bund) will prevent oil from escaping into the environment if a leak occurs - this is a legal requirement for domestic tanks which store more than 3,500 litres
To report an oil spill or leak, people should contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060.
Latest News from
Celebrating 10 years of Green Engineering in Cumbria29/05/2020 15:15:00
The Environment Agency is celebrating ten years of successful soft engineering along Cumbria rivers.
Regulating the waste industry during the coronavirus pandemic29/05/2020 14:10:00
The Environment Agency is continuing to protect people and the environment during coronavirus (COVID-19).
Annual project to reduce coastal flood risk in Lincolnshire starts in June27/05/2020 13:38:00
Workers will follow the government's coronavirus guidance while undertaking the project, which reduces the risk of flooding to homes and businesses.
Flood scheme for Stoke town centre gets green light19/05/2020 15:38:00
Work to reduce flood risk that will allow regeneration in Stoke town centre has the green light after the Environment Agency and Stoke-on-Trent Council secured funds.
Helping to tackle lockdown waste crimes in the North East18/05/2020 14:33:00
Protect your property from illegal waste activities.
Coronavirus: Environment Agency update: 15 May 202015/05/2020 15:10:00
The Environment Agency is working hard with the government and other partners to protect the public and environment from the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).
New pumps keep £35 million flood defence scheme on track14/05/2020 12:38:00
Work to overhaul Keadby pumping station near Scunthorpe has taken a significant step forward thanks to the arrival on site of the first 2 of 6 new pumps.
Environment Agency and Angling Trust welcome lifting of restrictions on recreational fishing13/05/2020 14:43:00
You can now fish on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules and staying two metres apart at all times.