Check Your Heating Oil Tank This Winter, Says EA Wales

20th November 2011
Environment Agency Wales is urging people who use oil to heat their homes to check their tanks and pipes for leaks as the winter months approach. Tanks, pipes and joints, particularly on older systems, are especially vulnerable to damage during the winter months, where freezing temperatures can cause burst pipes and leaks.

Householders and businesses are also encouraged to be aware of thieves who may target oil tanks during the winter. As temperatures begin to fall, the Environment Agency is asking for people to:

• Check pipe work and tanks for any leaks.
• Check the tank regularly for a sudden drop in levels.
• Keep an eye on the amount of oil you use.

Last month, a business in the Vale of Glamorgan incurred costs of more than £1,000 following a heating oil spill. The firm filled its heating oil tank with 1000 litres of kerosene without first checking the connecting pipes, which had been cut by vandals.

In the days that followed all 1000 litres spilt into the ground nearby. The business now faces a bill to clean up the land polluted by the spill, as well as the cost to replace the oil. Domestic heating oil can also cause problems to gardens and the local environment if there is a leak. It can kill plants, harm wildlife, pollute rivers and contaminate drinking water.

Jon Reeves, Environment Agency Wales, says, "Replacing lost oil is an expensive business so keeping loss to a minimum is important. It is not only the effect to the environment that is of concern, but the prospect of people being left without heating this winter.

"The cost of cleaning up an oil spill could leave householders and businesses facing bills of more than £1,000. We're urging oil users to regularly check their storage facilities and the associated pipework to make sure they are fit for use."

"Heating oil spills can also have a significant effect on the environment. If a tank was to spill into a river the impact on aquatic life would be severe."

If people discover a leak they can call 0800 80 70 60 and report it. A local officer will be in contact to arrange a visit as a priority.

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Article Last Updated 20th November 2011
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