How to store oil safely and legally

Maintaining your oil storage equipment


You should carry out a weekly check of containers, secondary containment systems (SCS), pipework and other ancillary equipment. This should include looking for:

  • damage or corrosion
  • any changes to a container's shape, eg bulging or distortion
  • oil stains or any leaks
  • closed or locked valves and gauges
  • build-up of water in bunds or other SCS, and ensuring they are free from rubbish

You should carry out routine maintenance of containers and SCS to prevent any risk of pollution. Keep a record of when inspections and maintenance are carried out and who by.

You should always look out for any signs of damage or interference to your tank or pipework. If you find any problems, get repairs carried out immediately by a competent, qualified technician.

As well as a weekly check, you should use a qualified technician to carry out a detailed annual inspection and service of your storage facilities, including:

  • checking the condition of tank surfaces, SCS and supports for pipework
  • checking the condition and operation of pipework and fittings
  • removing and disposing of any condensation water or sludge in your tank
  • checking for leaks

You should receive a report about your tank which details any faults that must be fixed before you can continue to use your oil storage.

Qualified technicians should be a member of a professional scheme for qualified tank installers.

Good practice for storing oil underground

Below-ground tanks and their associated pipework are a high risk to the environment as they are difficult to inspect and leaks may not be immediately obvious.

You should pay extra attention to oil stored below ground to reduce these risks. You should:

  • Supervise deliveries to make sure that the tank is not overfilled.
  • Monitor the amount of oil you are using. If an unexpected increase occurs, investigate the cause - the container or pipework may have an undetected leak.
  • Maintain gauges, valves and pipework on a regular basis.