Every year in Wales, there are up to 300 water pollution incidents caused by oil. However, with just 28% of serious incidents being reported, the true scale of the issue is potentially much greater.
With many of these incidents attributed to poor fuel storage practices, the Government introduced new rules to tackle the pollution problem. The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations 2016 updates requirements for fuel storage and outlines best practice measures to prevent oil escaping into the environment.
Here we explore the new regulations, who is affected and how to check if your tank is compliant.
Do the regulations apply to me?
Simply put, the regulation applies to any kind of oil stored in above-ground containers. This includes:
- Heating Oil
- Gas oil
- Waste oil
- Vegetable oil
- Plant oil
If any of these oils are used for business purposes on premises including industrial and commercial institutions and farms – the storage containers must comply with the new regulations.
Measures to prevent leaks, bursts and spillages make up the core of the new regulations for oil storage. While the new rules require all tanks to be strong enough to hold fuel without leaking or bursting, additional requirements have been introduced for tanks with a capacity of over 200 litres.
For tanks over 200 litres, it’s bunded or bust. All storage solutions must now feature a secondary containment system (bund) to catch any oil leaking from the tank, its pipework or equipment. As well as being impermeable to water and oil, the bund must be able to contain at least 110% of the tank’s maximum contents and needs to be checked regularly for cracks or leaks.
All valves, sight gauges, vent pipes and other ancillary equipment must be contained within the bund or second skin in order to catch any drops of oil that may be discharged. These, plus any taps through which oil can be dispensed, must also be fitted with a lock and locked shut when not in use. To provide additional protection, an automatic overfill prevention device must also be fitted.
Location also plays a key role. To avoid water pollution, fuel tanks must not be situated within 50 metres of any boreholes or within 10 metres of surface water or wetland. The new rules state that a tank must be positioned in a location to avoid or prevent physical damage. Above ground pipework must be properly supported, while pipework located below ground must be protected from damage, corrosion and have leakage detection facilities that meet standard EN13160-1 to 7.
When did the regulations come into force?
For most businesses, the new rules came into force from 15th March 2020.
However, those with tanks located within ten metres of any surface water or wetland, or within 50 metres of a borehole or well will likely be familiar with the new regulations. For those with tanks in at-risk areas, compliance has been enforced since 15 March 2018.
How do I know if my tank is compliant?
You can rest easy if your tank was installed after 15th March 2016 – when the first stage of the regulations was introduced. All tanks installed after this date must be compliant.
However, if you’re relying on a single-skinned tank with a capacity of over 200 litres, it’s time to upgrade to avoid falling foul of the new rules.
If you’re using a bunded tank, examples of compliant storage solutions can be seen in the images below.
What happens if my tank is non-compliant?
The penalties for a non-compliant tank can be significant. Failure to comply is a criminal offence – meaning that the person responsible for the tank could be facing prosecution as well as an eye-watering £5,000 fine.
To read the government’s full guidance on the new oil storage regulations for Wales, visit: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2016/359/contents/made
To give businesses confidence that their fuel is stored safely, securely and in compliance, all tanks supplied by Certas Energy meet ISO 9000 standards and satisfy the new regulations for oil storage in Wales.
If you are unsure whether your fuel tank is compliant with the new regulations or if you’re considering upgrading your tank, contact us and a member of our specialist, local team will be in touch to discuss our full product range of storage and monitoring solutions.