Top up fuels explains:
As the majority of domestic home heating oil tanks are kept outside, it is a given that over time tanks can become weathered down and damaged. This can often weaken the structural integrity of the tank and increase the chances of accidental spills happening, as well as components like pumps and gauges to become faulty.
It is the responsibility of the home heating oil user to ensure no contamination of oil to the environment or surrounding wildlife of which severe fines and costs can be incurred through any damaged that is caused. Oil is extremely hazardous for marine eco-systems especially and can have a serious long term damaging effect on its wildlife, as Oil is easily spread through rivers, lakes and estuaries.
Many of the tank leakages reported every day are associated with a lack of tank maintenance and regulation. In the majority of cases leakages are caused through irregular inspection of oil tanks which lead to weaknesses in the tank itself, its gauges, pumps or valves going unnoticed.
If your property has had its oil tank for more than 20 years, OFTEC (The Oil Firing Technical Association) have now declared that it needs to be replaced as quickly as possible as could pose an immediate threat to surrounding wildlife.
The majority of tank leakages are made worse through not being properly secured or contained, which is why reporting any signs of contamination as soon as you are aware is so important. Take it on yourself to regularly check the surrounding hardware (pipes, gauges, valves etc.) as they can be of much as a contributing factor to an accident as the tank itself.
On all tanks in the commercial industry it is a legal requirement to have tanks fitted with bunds (a spill tray) that can catch any spilt contamination if it ever should happen.
On the domestic side of things it’s not a legal requirement, however it is very advisable that you do make the appropriate precautions to contain a spill should one happen. The bund of your tank should receive just as much attention as the other elements listed – keeping your bund dry and free of rainwater and oil will reduce the risk of accidental spills.