Are your fuel tanks winter ready?

If you supply and/or store fuel on site, the colder months can spell an increased demand and risk, with tanks and pipes liable to damage due to freezing temperatures. Keeping fuel and its related assets in top condition should be a priority – not only to ensure downtime and pollution risk are minimised, but also in order to comply with legislation. Ignoring your legal obligations could leave your business open to fines.


A common problem for tanks as the temperature drops is burst pipework, so steps should be taken to protect pipes against corrosion and physical damage. Pipes below the ground need visible inspection hatches and above ground pipes should be supported, using brackets, for example. Where possible, it is advisable to avoid underground pipework, in order to prevent the contamination of groundwater.


Legal obligation

Fuel tanks are governed by the Fuel Storage Regulations and should be inspected annually in accordance with OFTEC and PPG2 Pollution Prevention guidelines. Legally, the overall responsibility for all fuel storage facilities falls to the owner, including ensuring that these annual inspections and their subsequent maintenance requirements are adhered to.


Apart from the storage tanks themselves, the Fuel Storage Regulations cover separators, bunds and associated pipe work, with standards set and enforced by the Environment Agency.


Separators in particular are essential for avoiding pollution. If left un-checked, separators can become blocked and their filters saturated, creating a flooding risk or causing polluted water to contaminate the local environment. Ignoring the state of your separators could result in hefty fines and prosecution. Environment Agency and EN standards state that separators should be serviced at least twice a year.


Spill precautions

Even if all precautions are taken, accidents do happen, even if the correct precautions are taken, so it’s essential that you have procedure in place in the event of a spill, including keeping appropriate spill kits and other spill clean-up equipment on site. Expert support should be sought if a pollution incident does occur, but if you have the right spill clean-up products and plans, immediate steps can be taken to minimise disaster.


We provide emergency spill cover, with a nationwide team available 24/7 enabling a quick response to stop pollution in its tracks.


Need help getting your fuel tanks winter ready? Find out about our fuel tank services here.




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