Oil Storage Regulations & Why It's Important to Comply


If you currently store oil on site, then there are a few legal regulations regarding oil storage that you need to know given that it is an environmentally damaging substance. Below are a few regulations and requirements that will be applicable to your business in England and Wales to make sure that you comply.

Who does it apply to?

The main reason for oil storage is to prevent pollution and keep the environment safe, if pollution levels can be contained then we don’t have to worry about any long-term future damage.

This strict principle is used by the Oil Storage Regulations 2001 and if you currently store oil on site in a container with a capacity of 201 litres of more than these regulations will apply to you. However, if you store oil ground, at a refinery or at a site where leaking can be contained then these regulations will not apply to you.

What are the requirements?

Most importantly your container should be suitable for the oil substance you are storing in it and not susceptible to bursting or leaking during use. You will also need to think about where you are going to store your container in order to reduce the risk impact i.e. traffic and pedestrian routes. If this is unavoidable for whatever reason then you will need to place barriers around the tank which is called secondary containment or bunding.

The bunding should be installed around your container to catch any oil leaks from where it is stirred. Certain situations may require the use of a dsrip tray or bowsers which can be double skinned in order to strengthen the container. If you operate with a single container then the bund must be 100% of the capacity of the primary container.

Multiple containers

If you store oil in multiple containers in a single bund then the capacity will need to be at least 25% of the combined capacity of all the containers, or 110%  of the capacity of the largest container, whichever is greater. This capacity needs to be constantly maintained so you will need to consider how you will deal with rainwater which is at risk of contamination.

The bund must also meet certain requirements, which means it must be impermeable to oil and water and contain all the container and any associated equipment. Very importantly it must not allow liquid to escape in anyway from pipes, valves or openings.

Take precautions

It is important that you take action to ensure that any oil that you store on your site does not contaminate the environment. To help ensure this, you should comply with the Oil Storage Regulations 2001. If you are unsure of any of the rules and regulations then it is advisable to get in touch with the Environment Agency.