Save ús and the environment, says the Environment Agency

11th October 2008
Maintaining your oil storage tank, whether at home or at work, could save you pounds and help protect the environment this winter, claims the Environment Agency.
The EA's oil storage campaign, launched at the end of September, is encouraging anyone with an oil storage tank to ensure it is kept in good condition and is secured to prevent theft. Oil is one of the most common causes of water pollution, damaging plants and wildlife, making soil infertile and destroying habitats, but can so easily be avoided.
Richard Bowen, Environment Manager, said "Every year we see an increase in the reports of pollution incidents when people start to switch on their heating. This can have both environmental and financial implications - destroying ponds and streams, flowerbeds and agricultural land, and can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds to clear up - which very often isn't covered by insurance.
"There are some simple things that tank owners can do to ensure their oil is stored safely and the environment is protected."
> Ensure tanks are sited as far away from drains, streams and ponds as possible and even better ensure they are bunded. Unlike old fashioned single skin tanks, a bunded tank consists of 'a tank within a tank'. In the event of a spillage, surplus fuel will be contained within the outer tank or 'bund' and a pollution incident will be avoided. Bunded tanks are a legal requirement at almost all new and replacement oil storage installations.
> Inspect your tank, pipework and other related equipment once a week, for signs of damage, interference or leaks and ensure that your tank is inspected at least annually by an independently accredited, competent technician.
> Keep a record of your oil use so you know how much you are using and can identify potential problems quickly - a small leak can add up to a large fuel loss over time
> Always supervise your oil delivery - resulting pollution incidents could damage your land
> Check your home insurance policy - you may not be covered for loss of oil or pollution clean-up costs
> Be prepared and put together an oil spill kit with absorbent materials, drain blockers and leak sealing putty
> Keep the 24 hour emergency pollution helpline number- 0800 870 060 somewhere handy, in case of a spill.
> Choose a fuel distributor whose fuel deliveries are protected by a modern, failsafe, electronic, overfill prevention system fitted to the tanker e.g. a LRC type system. If they're not, why not? Remember, some, old fashioned mechanical overfill prevention valves can cause the very event they're designed to prevent. A tanker driver delivering fuel without failsafe overfill protection, is potentially only one distraction away from causing a pollution incident.
Richard added, "We are working with oil suppliers and oil storage manufacturers to raise awareness of the regulations and would encourage anyone who has concerns over their current oil storage to contact us for advice and guidance."
The EA campaign, set to run for six weeks, will include advice and information on tank security, the pollution that can be caused and what punishment can be expected if you cause pollution by not protecting your tank. For further information regarding both domestic and commercial oil storage, visit the Environment Agency online.


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Article Last Updated 11th October 2008
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