Oil Can Spoil Warns The Environment Agency
16th August 2009
The Environment Agency is urging people to check oil tanks carefully before filling them up for the winter as metal tanks in particular, and oil supply pipework may have deteriorated during the summer months.
Damaged oil tanks can leak, potentially polluting local rivers and streams and causing damage to the environment. Oil pollution can prove very costly, both financially and in terms of disruption to people's daily lives. In a small number of instances, the resulting clean up could cost the tank owner thousands of pounds and could lead to potential prosecutions and hefty fines for many householders. Quite simply, it is against the law to cause pollution.
Oil is the most common cause of water pollution, albeit heating oil pollution incidents represent only a minority of reported instances. Each year however, the Environment Agency is called to around 400 oil pollution incidents across the Thames region alone. Many could have been avoided simply by proper maintenance and good practice, and by following Agency guidelines:
In addition to Environment Agency guidelines, common sense suggests you:
Environment Agency Thames Area Manager Simon Hughes said: "If you have an oil storage tank make sure it meets the oil storage regulations and check it regularly - even if it's empty. Every autumn we receive hundreds of reports of pollution caused when homeowners have their oil tanks refilled before the cold weather sets in.
"Most incidents are caused by oil spilling from tanks during delivery or leaking during storage. The oil finds its way into local watercourses or into water-bearing rocks below the ground, where it can cause long term damage to water supplies and harm wildlife such as fish, insects and birds.
"If you use oil for home heating you need to be aware of your risks and responsibilities. Homeowners with tanks that hold more than 3,500 litres must comply with the Oil Storage Regulations, but we would encourage everyone to use these standards as best practice. If you need advice, phone us on 08708 506 506 and remember, oil can spoil".
Its also worth remembering that oil storage tank installations with an installed capacity of 3,500 litres or less, are subject to Building Regulations.
If anyone sees oil pollution they should call the Environment Agency's 24-hour Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60 immediately. The sooner the Environment Agency knows about an incident, the better the Agency's chance of minimising the impact on water supplies and the environment.
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Article Last Updated 16th August 2009