SEPA Confirms Scottish Oil Storage Requirements

25th August 2006
Over the next four years, Scottish industry will need to comply with new Oil Storage Regulations and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is issuing advice on how industry can comply with the design standards for new and existing above ground oil storage facilities.

Since 1991, the agricultural community has been aware of the need to comply with the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Scotland) Regulations 2003 (SSAFO). These regulations have led to improved storage facilities for oil and reduced the risks of oil pollution from farms.

With the introduction of the new Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006, all industry, including agriculture, is covered by the same provisions. The requirements relating to oil storage have been removed from the SSAFO Regulations so there is no duplication of control. The new regulations will come into force in 3 stages, as follows:

1. New tanks, installed after 1 April 2006 will have to comply within 6 months, by 1 October 2006.

2. Existing tanks within 10 metres of surface water, or 50 metres of a borehole or well, will have to comply within 2 years, by 1 April 2008.

3. Remaining existing tanks will have to comply within 4 years, by 1 April 2010.

Key requirements of the new regulations are: if the container has a storage capacity of 200 litres or more secondary containment is required i.e. a ‘bund’ or ‘drip-tray’, to ensure that any leaking or spilt oil cannot enter the water environment. Where oil is stored in any portable container with a storage capacity of less than 200 litres, the container must be of sufficient strength and structural integrity so as to ensure that it is unlikely to burst or leak in its ordinary use.

David Campbell of SEPA said; “Oil pollution incidents account for around 16% of all pollution incidents in Scotland. These often have a significant detrimental impact on the environment; involve expensive remediation, with clean up costs ranging from £10,000 for a small incident to around £250,000 for a major incident.

The Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 introduce an industry standard for oil storage which will improve the quality and security of oil storage with the minimum of intervention by SEPA. We expect them to help reduce oil pollution incidents, reduce clean up costs for industry and improve water quality even further.”

The regulations apply to oil tanks supplying premises such as factories, farms, offices, schools, hospitals, sports centres and blocks of flats where fuel oil is supplied from communal storage facilities. However, domestic oil storage tanks serving domestic houses will be exempt, provided their capacity is less than 2500 litres and they are do not pose a significant risk of causing pollution.

Any kind of containers, being used and which are stored on premises above ground, whether inside or outside a building, including fixed tanks, intermediate bulk containers, drums (oil drums or similar containers used for storing oil) or mobile bowsers, are all subject to the regulations.
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Article Last Updated 10th December 2006
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