Above Ground Oil Storage Tanks (PPG2)

4. Deciding where to put your tank

You should think about environmental and fire protection, access, maintenance and security requirements before deciding where to put a new or replacement oil storage tank.

Avoid high risk locations
We recommend that you don’t store oil in high risk locations; these are:

  • within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole;
  • within 10 metres of a watercourse;
  • places where spilt oil could enter open drains, loose fitting manhole covers or soak into the ground where it could pollute groundwater;
  • places where a spill could run over hard ground to enter a watercourse or soak into the ground where it could pollute groundwater;
  • places where tank vent pipe outlets can’t be seen from the filling point;
  • above roof level as spilt oil can run down guttering which is connected to surface water systems.

Oil spilt in these locations will pollute surface waters and groundwaters. If these locations are unavoidable then check with us before you arrange for a new tank to be installed, as we may require additional environmental protection, e.g. overfill prevention device or oil separator on the surface water drainage system.

We recommend at all sites that you have secondary containment for your oil storage tanks wherever you put them, even if it’s not required by OSR or Building Regulations, (see Section 5c).

You should or, if OSR applies must, ensure that steps are taken, to minimise the risk of damage to the secondary containment system by impact or collision.

You should consider access for maintenance and deliveries to the tank (filling). Check with your local oil delivery company before making the final decision on where to place a tank. They need to take into account pollution prevention and health and safety aspects of filling your tank. This includes where they can safely park the oil tanker, where the delivery pipes will run and access to the tank. They will also be able to give advice relating to height of the fill point above ground and delivery pipe sizing.

Avoid storing oil in areas at risk from flooding
Containers may float in a flood which could cause pipelines to break and oil to be spilled. If there’s no alternative, consider raising tanks above predicted flood water levels as long as this doesn’t compromise the tank integrity, safe delivery and handling of your oil. You could also secure your tank so it can’t lift as water rises around it. Contact a competent installer, (see Section 15) for advice on securing your tank. Contact us to check if your tank is in an area at risk from flooding. In England, Scotland and Wales you can check our websites for flood maps, which provide details of flood risk areas.

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