With an autumnal nip in the air, the Environment Agency is urging anyone with a domestic heating oil tank to check their tank is in a good state of repair before getting heating oil delivered for the winter.
Leaks and spills from a domestic heating tank can be difficult and expensive to clean up; leaked oil can end up in groundwater supplies and drains, many of which lead directly into rivers, streams, lakes and even garden ponds.
If oil does get into drains it could pollute watercourses, harming livestock, wildlife and plants. Drinking water can also come from the same surface and groundwater supplies so protection is important.
Oil is poisonous to fish, other wildlife and smothers plants – just two litres of oil could seriously pollute the volume of fresh water needed to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.
Steve Brown from the Environment Agency said “Heating oil can cause serious problems if it gets into the water environment.”
“The clean-up costs could be tens of thousands of pounds; and these costs fall to the owner of the leaking tank. These costs are not always covered by household insurance policies. A serious case of land contamination from a leaking oil tank could also severely affect the value of property in the area.”
“This is why it’s vital that oil is only ever stored in tanks that are in good condition. Both the tank and its pipe work should be regularly inspected and people should never buy more oil than they can safely store.”
“If anyone does find a spill, please contact us straight away so that we can reduce the impact on the environment.”
To report an oil spill people should contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.