June 03, 2013

There are several rules regarding the safe storage of heating oil, and these can vary depending on the region you live in.

Here are a few key points that the 1.5 million users of home heating oil take into account to ensure that they are complying with health and safety regulations.

How much can I store?

In England and Wales up to 2,500 litres of oil for a single family dwelling is classified as domestic storage, while anything above this level is covered by the Control of Pollution Regulations, as opposed to Building Regulations.

Minimum orders for heating oil normally start at 500 litres, so even if you are buying extra domestic heating oil to store up for future use, you shouldn’t need to exceed this limit.

Do I need secondary containment for my tank?

A bund or secondary containment for an oil tank may be required in certain scenarios in order to keep oil pollution to a minimum. A bund offers an additional layer of protection and holds 110% of its contents, and is required if any of the following points apply.

  • Where a tank has a capacity greater than 2,500 litres
  • If a tank is located within 10m of ‘controlled water’, such as a natural pond, stream, ditch, river, lake, coastal water or a canal
  • If a tank is located within 50m of a borehole, spring or well
  • If a tank is situated in a place where the tank vent pipe outlet cannot be seen from the fill point
  • If the tank site could mean an oil spillage could run into a loose-fitting manhole cover or open drain
  • If the tank site is located over hard-surfaced ground or hard ground that could allow an oil spill to hit controlled water
  • If the site presents any other potential hazards

How often do I need to maintain my tank?

There are a number of tank options available that normally come in both metal and plastic varieties, and feature a single skin or are pre-bunded.

While modern-day plastic tanks are seen as very durable it is still essential to carry out an annual maintenance check with an OFTEC [Oil Firing Technical Association] registered technician to ensure that everything is in good working order. 

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