How to store oil safely and legally

How to deal with oil spills


You should take prevention measures to reduce the risk of oil pollution occurring on your site. Have a pollution incident response plan to use in the event of a spill or leak, and ensure your staff are fully trained and know what to do when an incident occurs.

Keep a spill kit or other pollution control equipment close to your oil store so you can access it easily when you need it. This can include:

  • an oil spill kit with proprietary absorbent materials and drain blockers
  • gully seals
  • booms
  • sealing putty
  • earth or sand

If a spill does occur, act immediately and try to prevent it from entering drains or surface waters. For example, use absorbent materials to help contain the spread of the oil and soak it up, and drain blockers to protect surface water drains.

Use the NIEA Water Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60 to report an incident and ask for help and advice about what to do.

You must never hose a spill down or use detergents to disperse it as you could cause a much worse pollution incident.

You must dispose of any absorbent or other materials contaminated with oil as hazardous waste.

Take precautions during oil deliveries

There's an increased risk of an oil spill during a delivery to your container. To help prevent pollution you should:

  • supervise deliveries
  • clearly label all tanks with their contents and storage capacity
  • check that your container has sufficient capacity before arranging and receiving a delivery
  • check that the secondary containment system will contain any spill due to overfilling

Take particular care where taking a delivery to multiple tanks. Have clear instructions for delivering the right amount to each tank.