How to store oil safely and legally

Where to locate your oil storage container


You should consider safety, security, access for deliveries and repairs, and maintenance needs when deciding where to locate your oil storage containers. This will help you comply with regulations and minimise the risk of pollution.

An oil storage container can include a tank, drum, mobile bowser or intermediate bulk container. Avoid storing oil containers on roofs.

Try to position oil containers or stores where there is minimal chance of collision or impact, for example from moving vehicles. If the Oil Storage Regulations apply, you must ensure you protect the containers and the secondary containment system.

You should ensure that the surface of the area where deliveries are made is protected by an impermeable surface, and is away from surface water drainage systems. This will help you to avoid causing pollution from escaped oil.

Try not to store oil in a pollution risk area. This includes within 10 metres of a waterway or within 50 metres of a well, spring or borehole. If this is unavoidable you may need to have additional pollution prevention measures.

Avoid locating your container on a flood plain. It may float in the event of flooding, causing pipelines to break and oil to spill. If this is unavoidable, you must ensure that the container is fixed to a secure base or other measures are taken.

Your container should always be located within a secondary containment system (SCS), such as a bund. If the Oil Storage Regulations apply to your business or site, you must store your oil in a SCS.

If you are unable to comply with any of the requirements above, you should contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for advice.

You can download guidance on the safe storage of drums and intermediate bulk containers (PDF, 1.2MB).