Your chemical manufacturing business might use and store fuel and oil for equipment and vehicles used on site.
Leaks and spills cause pollution, so it is essential that you store and handle fuels and oil safely. Fuels include petrol, diesel, oil and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
You may use oils as:
- a fuel
- a raw material, eg paraffin
- a solvent, eg toluene
- lubricating oil for vehicles and machinery, eg mineral or synthetic oils and greases
Store oil safely
If you store any kind of oil on your premises, you may need to comply with a number of regulations controlling its storage. This will depend on how much and what type of oil you store, the type of site you have and the containers you use.
Even if oil storage controls do not apply, you should still store your oils responsibly and consider meeting the requirements of the legislation. This can help you to prevent land and water pollution and avoid prosecution - find out if oil storage controls apply to your business.
Prevent major accidents
If you store or use dangerous substances, such as petroleum products or LPG, on your site, you may need to comply with the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.
For example, if you store more than 2,500 tonnes of petroleum products, you must have a major accident prevention policy. If you store more than 25,000 tonnes of petroleum products you must also submit a safety report and prepare an on-site emergency plan - see control of major accident hazards (COMAH).
Supervise all fuel deliveries to your site.
Clearly label all tanks with their contents and storage capacity. You should also label remote filling points. This will reduce the risk of overfilling and spills.
Use drip trays when you refuel mobile or temporary equipment, for example bowsers or generators, and at the fill point when refilling storage tanks. This may be a legal requirement - see storing oil.
Prevent water running off refuelling areas into surface water drains and general yard drainage by using drainage gullies, raised kerbs or appropriate falls. Drain this run-off via an oil separator. You may need permission from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency or your NI Water to discharge wastewater from your oil interceptor.
Ensure your oil separator is properly maintained and works effectively. If your oil separator doesn't work properly, you might cause pollution, and you could be prosecuted or fined.
Prevent drainage system incidents
Keep an up-to-date and accurate drainage plan of your site. This will help you identify the locations of all the drains and sewers and where they lead.
When making a discharge to a drain or sewer, always check you are connecting to the correct system. You should only discharge clean, uncontaminated surface water to the surface water drainage system.
Colour code your drainage system by painting manhole covers, gullies and grills using a recognised colour coding system - blue for surface water drains and red for foul water drains. This will help you to identify which system you are discharging to and where any spills will end up.
Install shut-off valves on your surface and foul water drainage lines so that you can isolate your site drainage if there is a major fuel spill.
Report any pollution incidents as soon as they happen to the NIEA Water Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60.