Above Ground Oil Storage Tanks (PPG2)

6. Installing tanks

You should have your tank installed by a suitably-qualified tank installer who’s registered with a professional scheme for the type of tank you’re having installed. They will make sure that tanks are installed according to the relevant standards and good practice. Professional schemes are run by a number of organisations (see Section 15 for more details).

Tanks should be sited on an appropriately designed and constructed base or support with sufficient room around it to protect the tank from fire in the surrounding area, see BS 5410 (Reference 13). Check what you need for your tank with the tank manufacturer or competent installer.

To prevent pollution, the delivery and dispensing area around your tank should have an impermeable surface and be isolated from surface water drainage systems.

Make sure you keep the manufacturers and installers information for your tank. Leave all the markings and stickers on your tank when it’s installed. These include tank manufacturer, make, model and capacity markings. Many oil tanks come supplied with an Oil Care Campaign tank sticker that gives information about what to do if you have an oil spill. It may be a legal requirement for your tank to have this. If your tank doesn’t have an Oil Care Campaign tank sticker, you can get one from us. If you have more than one tank, label all your tanks and their fill points clearly, with the type of product stored and tank capacity.

You should protect your oil storage tank from the risk of fire. Building Regulations (Reference 10) allow for fire protection by using approved distance between the tank and surrounding structures or by a physical fire protection barrier. Don’t store any materials close to your tank or in the secondary containment.

Tanks within buildings - in Scotland these must comply with OSR Scotland. In England and Wales follow all good practice recommendations to prevent pollution. Building Regulations are likely to apply.

For tanks in constructed secondary containment
If your tank is being installed in a constructed bund, the bund should be built using reinforced materials, with no damp-proof course and rendered impermeable to oil. There are detailed specifications and drawings available for constructed bunds using concrete and masonry (References 14, 15 and 16). These will make sure your masonry or concrete bunds are constructed to be oil tight and fit for purpose.

Your bund should be designed to reduce the risk of oil escaping beyond the containment area if your tank developed a hole (known as jetting).

To reduce the chance of this happening:

  • keep the tank as low as possible within the bund;
  • increase the height of the bund walls;
  • leave space between the tank and bund walls;
  • don’t put one tank above another.

A constructed bund should also have a sump fitted into the base so you can remove rainwater for safe and legal disposal, (see Figure 1).

The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) suggests in locations with high rainfall, 110% capacity in an open bund may not be enough to provide protection from loss of oil (see Reference 14). They give an alternative method to calculate the size of secondary containment needed for tanks in open bunds in locations with high rainfall. The method for calculating bund capacity depends on the risk of polluting water. If you’re in any doubt about the sensitivity of a site, consult us.

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