Looking After Domestic Heating Oil in Storage
There are a large number of domestic properties that rely on the use of heating oil, particularly small rural villages where there is often no main gas supply. While leaks of heating oil in Shropshire based homes are unlikely, when they do happen it can be an incredibly costly situation for both the homeowner and the environment. Each and every year, the Environment Agency deals will roughly 3,500 heating oil pollution incidents, most of which are leaks and spills from domestic heating oil storage tanks. Here we have produced a simple guide to safely store your domestic heating oil, which in turn will help to protect the environment and save you money.
Heating oil, or any type of oil, is extremely harmful to the environment, particularly to plants and animals. Contamination is a major risk when oil storage units have splits or leaking oil; oil can easily pass through soil and rock and contaminate entire water sources. In many rural areas there are private water sources that rely on the cleanliness of groundwater and, if contaminated with oil, can be incredibly detrimental to those living in the area.
Specifications of Oil Storage Tanks
There are several important factors to consider when storing fuel in a domestic property. All oil tanks must be kept at least 10m from any water source, which includes a pond, river, lake, and if possible at least 50m from a borehole or spring. It is extremely useful to know where any underground pipe work runs to ensure that any above ground work is not detrimental to said pipe work. There are technicians available who specialise in the testing of underground pipe work and can help you in preparing to store your fuel without damaging any pipe work. Oil tanks should also be kept at least 1.8m from a non-fire rated building or structure.
Bunded Oil Tanks
A modern domestic heating oil tank over 2500m3 must be bunded. But what is a bunded tank? To put it simply, a modern bunded tank stores oil in a tank within a tank. This is an incredibly useful feature that allows any leaks from the internal tank to be caught within the outer tank. With the correct maintenance a modern bunded tank will have a lifespan of up to 20 years. Older tanks are most commonly made from a single layer of metal. Meaning that they are far more likely to corrode and result in a split or leak. Leaks from these tanks will not be maintained and will almost certainly result in damage to the environment and a loss of money.
- Perform a visual inspection on your tank at least twice a week, especially before a fuel delivery driver begins transferring oil and before the colder months set in.
- This inspection should involve checking the integrity of the tank, for leaks, and any signs of corrosion.
- Ensure that the tanks stop tap is functioning correctly.
- Place a bucket underneath the tap to catch even the smallest oil drips during a delivery.
- Place a bucket of sand near the tank to absorb and leaks should they occur.
- Keep a close eye on how much oil you use and the oil level. This will allow you to quickly notice any loss of oil.
- If you don’t have a bunded tank, consider building a simple bund around your existing tank to catch any oil leaks.