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Oil spills and leaks are an environmental hazard that can cause widespread damage. They are damaging to your pocket, as your precious oil goes to waste and even more damaging to the environment. This can result in massive costs for you as you’re responsible for any environmental clean-up needed.
Containing and stopping any form of leakage as soon as possible is imperative.
The good news is, there are ways to clean up the mess and prevent this costly damage.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of oil leaks and spills. We’ll also explain what steps to take if there is an oil spill on your property.
How Do Oil Spills and Leaks Occur?
There are many reasons why an oil tank may leak. The most common reason is from metal rusting through, which typically happens at the base of a steel tank as it ages and gets damaged by wear-and-tear. Your tank should be regularly inspected for damage. Any damage found should be fixed by an OFTEC registered professional.
Faulty components, like flexible hoses and sight gauges, can also result in leaks. All the components of your system should be checked regularly and replaced if they are faulty or damaged.
Lastly, spills can sometimes be caused by overfilling. Whilst, rare if you’re using a professional heating oil supplier, accidents do happen so it’s always wise to be prepared.
It’s the responsibility of anyone who uses heating oil to ensure that it is contained and used in a way that won’t release it into the environment. When spills do happen, it is up to those responsible for cleaning up any spillages and dealing with any consequences from the incident.
What to do if there’s a spill or a leak
Minor spills can be cleaned up easily using Atlantis Tanks’ spill kits
- Immediately stop the oil flow using the tap.
- Try to identify where the leak is coming from.
- Check the soil or surface around the spill and confirm the extent of the leak. Clean up minor spills using an oil spill kit.
- Check whether the leaked oil has contaminated anywhere else but your property or entered any drainage system or watercourse. If oil is actively flowing to nearby buildings or watercourses, take steps to divert it.
- Try to work out approximately how much fuel has been lost if the leak is substantial. If you need to contact a third party, they will want this information.
- If the leak is too large for you to clean up easily, call your insurance provider immediately. They can arrange for specialist contractors to deal with the problem. Bear in mind that your insurance won’t cover the damage caused by leaks if the leak is from a poorly maintained tank or pipes. We recommend regular use of our tank maintenance kit to keep your steel tank in tip-top condition.
- If the leaked oil has contaminated waterways, such as streams, ponds or lakes, contact the Environment Agency immediately. They will act quickly to minimise the damage.
Make notes on what you have done and take photos for documentation purposes just in case there are further repercussions from the incident. Being able to prove that you acted in a timely and appropriate manner to clean up the spill goes a long way to avoiding potentially huge clean-up costs from the Environment Agency.