I Store Fuel on Site, What Should I be Looking For?

Many sites store fuel that has the potential to cause significant environmental damage unless managed appropriately.  Fuel storage must comply with the Oil Storage Regulation, but we will discuss some of the areas you should consider to reduce pollution risk here.

Containment

Fuel must be stored in an appropriate container, of the correct size and in good condition, with no rust or cracks.  There should be good signage, indicating contents and safe working capacity for refilling.  In addition, you should consider secondary containment, particularly if fuel is stored outside.  This is usually bunding, or double skinned tanks that will contain fuel and prevent it from escaping if the primary container fails.  If the bund is not covered, you should have a process in place to manage rainwater ingress to ensure the capacity of the bund is not compromised.  Some bunds have an alarm to warn of contamination in the bund (particularly important for covered bunds where you can’t see) and should be tested regularly.  If they don’t work, or alarm, action must be taken immediately.

Asset Awareness

You must know exactly what you have on site, especially with multiple sites.  You need to know the basics like what fuel you have, how it’s stored, bunding arrangements (including alarms) and maintenance/ inspection regimes.  You also need to have full knowledge of fuel supply pipelines including whether they are above or below ground, their construction, routes and how many pumps there are.

Emergency Procedures

Although you want to plan to prevent an incident, you must make plans for if one does occur.  For fuel storage, you need to have provisions in place for a spillage.  This will include awareness of the drainage and interceptor arrangements and suitable spill kits in the area.  At a minimum, you should have an oil specific spill kit and your staff must receive site specific spill training and be aware of what to do.  Depending on quantity, you may also want to consider an external company to deal with a large spill.

Maintenance/ Inspections

Fuel tanks and the surrounding area should be regularly checked.  Maintenance may need to be considered, particularly for fuel pumps and underground supply pipelines to ensure they remain in good condition.  You should regularly check fuel tanks for condition (rust and signs of damage) and the refuelling area to ensure pumps are in good condition and not leaking and that there are no spillages in the area.  You can also check spill kit condition.  If you discover any issues, they should be addressed quickly and actions taken to prevent them from happening again, if applicable.

If you store fuel on site, you must take action to prevent pollution.  You should make sure fuel is stored safely and securely and be aware of your full fuel storage arrangements so if there is an incident, you can respond appropriately.  Regular inspections of the whole area will ensure that good standards are maintained.