Nowadays across England, there is still a very large amount of individual households, residential and commercial properties, that are still dependant and using oil based heating systems. Typically, domestic oil storage tanks are at higher risk, due to various factors that can affect not only the owner, but also the environment and other households around it.
Currently oil related pollution incidents in England are still at a very high percentage out of all the water and ground pollution factors, some of the main factors are unbunded and inadequately bunded existing stock. 60%-90% of the oil related pollution incidents occurred because of poor storage facilities, eg unbunded tanks, leaking tanks and pipes, faulty valves, overfilling, vandalism and poor construction practices.
How to identify if your current system requires specialist`s attention?
To safely operate your existing installation, a lot can be done by carrying out regular observations. Simple checks of the storage tank for any external damage like cracks, rust, leaks. Simple checks on supply pipework and valves for any damage or leaks can go along way.
Also the age of your oil tank should be considered. Typical single skin plastic or steel tank designed for outside use, comes with approx. 5 year warranty. A better solution is bunded plastic or steel tank, that has extended manufacturer’s warranty of up to 12 years. However, well built steel tanks if, maintained correctly, should last for a minimum of 20 years.
Due to the fact that there is still a lot of aged unbunded plastic and metal tanks that are being used, there is a high risk of these oil tanks leaking and potentially causing a high amount of risk for contamination of soil and groundwater. This can result in large fees to homeowners to rectify the issue.
Recently there has been a significant update by OFTEC to Technical book 3, that dictates how new installations have to be done, and according to these new standards existing installations should be updated. If you have any doubt or concerns regarding your existing installation, the best option is to contact qualified and OFTEC approved service provider that can advise on the best solution for you.
What is an up to date, compliant solution for new installation or replacement?
There can be different oil heating systems and storage tank installation setups available, after taking in consideration two main factors – Environmental and Fire hazards. To avoid any inconvenience at a later stage, the whole installation process should be done by a certified engineer.
Any risks should be identified by filling an OFTEC TI/133D form and then following Technical book 3.
Environmental hazards to be considered:
- Geographical location. Certain areas in England, can have additional requirements.
- Distance from the tank to any controlled water not less than 10 metres.
- Is a tank located where spillage could run into an open drain or near a loose fitting manhole cover.
- Tank located within 50 metres of a borehole or spring.
- Is a tank located, where leak could travel across hard surfaced ground to reach controlled water.
- Is a tank located in a location, where the vent pipe outlet is not visible from the fill point.
- Is tank supplying heating oil to a building other than a single family dwelling.
- Is tank located within an England “Groundwater Source Protection Zone 1”.
- Is a tank located in a flood risk area or is exposed to high winds.
Fire Hazards to be considered:
- Oil tank located within 1.8 metres of a non-fire rated building or structure.
- Oil tank located within 760mm of a non-fire rated boundary.
- Oil tank located within 1.8 metres of a construction opening in building.
- Oil tank located within 1.8 metres of a flue termination.
- Oil tank located on a base which does not extend a minimum of 300mm around all sides of the tank.
Once all these hazards have been taken into consideration, a decision can be made of the right type and capacity tank to be used.
Please feel free to contact our team, if you have any queries!
Source: Guidance note for the Control of Pollution and OFTEC technical book 3