A threat to water wildlife
When leaked from a tank, oil quickly enters the watercourse, moving from drains directly into rivers, streams, lakes and garden ponds. While you may think that a minor leak couldn't cause much damage, in reality even a small amount of oil can have a catastrophic effect on wildlife, poisoning fish and other creatures and smothering plants. In fact, just 2 litres of oil could seriously pollute the volume of fresh water needed to fill an Olympic swimming pool!
In addition to the damage they can cause to the environment, oil leaks can also be very costly, both in terms of the oil lost and the high clean up costs involved which all too often are not covered by household insurance policies.
Top oil tank tips
To ensure your oil tank is safe to use and avoid the financial and environmental costs of oil leaks, always be sure to follow the below checklist:
- Locate tanks as far away as possible from drains, streams and ponds.
- Inspect tanks, pipes and other equipment for leaks, damage and interference once a week. Any problems should be fixed ASAP by an installation business competent in oil fired installation work. This should include any underground pipework.
- Monitor how much oil your tank uses. If your oil usage suddenly increases this could indicate a leak.
- Supervise oil deliveries to ensure your tank is not overfilled. Also remember not to order more oil than you can safely store.
- Check that your home insurance covers clean up costs on both the property and the neighbouring land. Always notify your insurers immediately in the event of a spill/suspected spill.
- If your tank starts leaking, try to stop oil soaking into the ground or going down the drains. Contact an installation business competent in oil fired installation work or your insurance company to arrange for them or a UK-spill accredited clean up company to come out. Visit www.ukspill.org.
- Secondary containment such as a bund will prevent oil from leaking into the environment if a leak occurs. This is a legal requirement for domestic tanks which store more than 3,500 litres.
- To report an oil leak or a spill, contact the Environment Agency's 24 hour hotline on 0800807060.