For the first time in Northern Ireland, the regulations establish minimum requirements for the storage of oil at non-domestic premises, together with domestic premises which have an installed storage capacity greater than 3,500 litres. Smaller domestic oil storage installations already fall within the remit of Building Regulations in Northern Ireland, whilst agricultural premises are covered by The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Fuel Oil) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2003.
The new Control of Pollution regulations are applicable to all affected premises with an oil storage capacity greater than 200 litres. The regulations are being phased in, with full compliance at all affected premises expected by the end of 2015. Regulatory compliance requires:
• Tanks, drums and any other storage containers are strong enough to resist bursting
• Oil tanks should be positioned to minimise the risk of vehicular impact
• A secondary containment system (e.g. bund) should be incorporated within each oil storage installation. In practice, this will often mean the installation of a bunded storage tank at heating oil installations and a bunded dispensing tank at diesel installations.
• All ancillary equipment must be contained within the secondary containment area.
• The secondary containment system must be able to store a minimum of 110% of the primary storage container. Where more than one container is stored, the system must be able to contain the greater of 110% of the largest tank or, 25% of the aggregate total.
• All bunds must be impermeable to oil e.g. they must be able to contain oil for a minimum of 72 hours. Additionally, the bund must not be permeated by any pipe or valve, capable of draining the storage system.
• Pipework must be properly supported and protected from damage, with have adequate leakage protection in place.
The first phase required that with effect from 20 September 2011, all new and replacement oil storage facilities are regulatory compliant. However, despite the deadline having now passed, a survey of 50 Ulster businesses by specialist oil heating consultancy J Switzer Associates, revealed that 34 businesses (or 68%) of surveyed companies were unaware of the regulations.
The survey was commissioned by TankDepot.co.uk - the online fuel tank specialist. Steve Beech, Director with TankDepot.co.uk says, "As an environmentally responsible business, we welcome any regulations which will reduce the impact of oil upon the environment. The introduction of similar regulations elsewhere in the UK, has been accompanied by a subsequent and very welcome decrease in the number of oil related pollution incidents. And there is no reason why the environment in Northern Ireland should not similarly benefit.
"Even in economically challenging times, regulatory compliance does not have the break the bank. For instance for a business storing 2,500 litres of diesel, upgrading to a regulatory compliant tank could cost as little as £1,194 inc. VAT... or £2,181 less than the value of the contents stored inside the tank. The same business storing 2,000 litres of heating oil worth £1,100 could upgrade for as little as £1,041.60 inc. VAT, which again is less than the value of stored fuel.
"However, the fact that some 68% of surveyed businesses in Northern Ireland claim to be unaware of the regulations is an obvious concern. As an industry, we must do more to raise awareness of regulatory change and advise how organisations can minimize the risk of oil pollution to achieve regulatory compliance."
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TankDepot.co.uk is the UK's leading online supplier of tanks for the storage of Adblue, BioDiesel, Diesel, Heating Oil and Water from leading manufacturers including Harlequin, Schneider Industry and Kingspan Titan.