Do I Need to Report an Oil Leak, Northern Ireland

Do I Need To Report An Oil Leak?

Oil leaks can cause significant environmental damage and should never be ignored “Do I need to report an oil leak?” Yes, you have a legal responsibility to report an oil leak. Take action immediately if you suspect an oil spill at your home or business.

How Do I Report an Oil Spill?

If you suspect that the oil spill has entered into a surrounding, river, pond, lough or any type of waterway. You must contact the NIEA water pollution hotline on 0800 80 70 60 immediately.

For all other oil leaks that have occurred on your property, you should contact your insurance provider. Your home or business insurance provider may appoint a specialist contractor in your area to asses the extent of the damage. Alternately if they do not have a specialist in your area they may ask you to contact an Oil Remediation Company, and request that an independent survey be carried out.

It is advisable that you keep a record which can serve as evidence of your compliance in reporting the oil spill, include the following details.

  • Date and time of when you noticed the oil leak
  • Photographic evidence of any damage to fuel lines, oil tank and the extent of the oil spill, if visible
  • Who you reported the oil leak to with the date and time
  • Preventative measures that where taken to stop or slow the spread of oil

By following the steps above and reporting an oil leak promptly protects the environment and fulfils your legal obligations.

Oil Tank Removal Northern Ireland

What Happens When Oil Leaks Into The Ground?

Heating oil, (kerosene) is toxic chemical that will kill all plant life it comes into contact with. Kerosene once absorbed into the ground can travel through soil and water contaminating not only your property, but the surrounding properties as well. Kerosene can seep into the foundations of surrounding buildings where it will remain, until removed.

Heating oil does not evaporate or decompose, instead it remains in the soil or foundations for several decades, unless removed. If your property has been affected by an oil spill, you will likely have to move out, due to the smell of oil.

What Causes an Accidental Oil Leak?

In the majority of cases, an accidental oil leak is caused by faulty pipework. Other causes of oil spills include:

  • Damage to oil lines during, (building, gardening)
  • Cracks in old single skin tanks
  • Oil spillages during deliveries
  • Lightning strikes (rare)
  • Subsidence caused by flash flooding
  • Incorrect installation
  • Deliberate vandalism

Oil Spill Remediation

If you smell oil or suspect that you have an oil leak. Contact Removerr on 07434 691 809 or email Our team are experienced to handle any size of oil spill and work alongside many of the leading insurance companies in Northern Ireland.

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Best Oil Tank Location

Best Oil Tank Location

What is the best oil tank location for oil storage tanks? Maybe your replacing an old, damaged tank or installing a new one. I think we can all agree that domestic oil tanks that are used to store heating oil are pretty unsightly. It is common practice for the majority of householders to place their oil tank out of sight. Common oil tank locations are behind a garage, shed, in the corner of the garden, next to a boundary fence or wall.

Table of Contents

  1. Why is Oil tank Placement Important?
  2. Best Oil Tank location?
  3. Oil Tank Base Regulations
  4. Do Oil Tanks Need to Be Higher Than The Boiler?
  5. Oil Tank Disposal Companies

Why is Oil Tank Placement Important?

Kerosene heating oil is extremely toxic to plants, animals and humans. As of January 2021 oil tank regulations changed, domestic oil tanks are considered a hazardous waste which must be controlled. This change effects every householder across Northern Ireland who stores heating oil to heat their home. Why? home insurance, your policy may be invalid if you do not safely store heating oil on your property.

Oil spills caused by leaking oil tanks cause significant environmental pollution. According to Aviva insurance, Northern Ireland accounted for around a third of incidents since 2017 in the UK. Homeowners should check  with their home insurance provider, to ensure that they are covered in the event of an oil leak.

Best Oil Tank Location

Before determining the best location for your oil tank, you first need to be aware of the guidelines set by the Oil Firing Technical Association, (OFTEC).

Oil storage tanks due to the risk of fire should never be placed directly beside a building or boundary fence. You should allow a distance of:

  • 760mm from a non-fire rated boundary, such as a wooden fence
  • 600mm from a boundary hedge or shrubbery
  • 1800mm (1.8m) away from doors, windows of a garage or house
  • 1800mm (1.8m) away from the eaves of a building or garden sheds

The maximum amount of heating oil a domestic tank may hold is 3500 litres. Oil tanks that hold 2500 litres or above, must contain a secondary holding tank referred to as a bunded oil tank.

Best Oil Tank Location

Ideal oil tank placement

Oil Tank Base Regulations

A strong well constructed oil tank base is essential for ensuring the safe and secure storage of kerosene. Oil tanks when full of heating oil, are heavy.

  • 1000 litres kerosene weighs 0.819kg per litre = 819kg
  • Bunded oil tank 1000 litres weighs 125kg
  • Total combined weight = 944kg

When building an oil tank base it is important to consider the following:

1) The oil tank base must extend beyond the circumference of the oil tank by a minimum of 300mm. The base should also be a solid continuous slab which provides even distribution of weight.

2) Tank bases should be constructed from concrete, concrete blocks, paving stones or paving slabs. If the area where the tank base is to be built has poor drainage, additional hardcore should be used to ensure the base does not sink under the weight. If the base is to be cast and filled with poured concrete, the thickness should be at least 100mm thick.

Domestic Oil Tank Bases

Concrete poured oil tank base

Do Oil Tanks Need to Be Higher Than The Boiler?

It is recommended when determining the best oil tank location, that your tank be installed higher than the boiler. Gravity helps the flow of oil from the tank to the boiler. If the oil tank is level, lower or there is a long distance between the tank and the boiler, a device called a tigerloop oil de-aerator can be used. A tiger loop system is used to remove air from the fuel line and prevent air locks and burner shut downs. This greatly reduces problems with the oil pump and fuel nozzle.

Tigerloop Oil De-Aerator

Tigerloop oil de-aerator

Oil Tank Disposal Companies

If you are replacing your oil tank or converting from oil to gas, you will need to dispose of your old tank responsibly. As I mentioned earlier, all domestic oil tanks are classes as hazardous waste. Removerr is licensed by the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency to safely remove and dispose of decommissioned oil tanks across Northern Ireland.

Contact Removerr on 07434 691 809 or email

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When Did Oil Tank Regulations Change

When Did Oil Tank Regulations Change

When did oil tank regulations change? On the 1st January 2020 the NIEA classified all domestic oil tanks as a hazardous waste. Over 60% of homes across Northern Ireland use heating oil, (kerosene) to heat their homes. With such high dependency on heating oil and fuel storage tanks, how does this new policy affect homeowners.

The disposal of old, damaged or obsolete oil tanks must be removed by a licensed waste carrier. All oil tanks must be consigned and transported to a licensed waste facility to monitor the movement of hazardous waste.

Why Did Oil Tank Regulations Change

Regulations changed in January 2020 to track the movements of hazardous waste. Contaminated oil tanks and heating oil constitute a serious risk to environmental pollution. In the past before the regulation’s changed domestic oil tanks where either, abandoned, sold, burned or disposed as general waste. Now with the new policy, householders and contractors are not permitted to:

  • Transport oil tanks or kerosene, unless they have a valid waste carriers license
  • Abandon or store contaminated oil tanks on their property

How To Dispose of a Domestic Oil Tank

Below details the correct procedure that must be followed when disposing of a plastic or metal oil tank in Northern Ireland. If your heating oil tank is single skin, older than 10 years, it should be replaced or checked yearly for cracks. Heating oil from a leaking oil tank is toxic and harmful to plants and animals.

1) Replacing an existing oil tank

The process of replacing an old or damaged oil tank should be carried out by a registered heating engineer or plumber. The contractor should syphon the remaining heating oil from the old oil tank into a holding tank. Once the new tank has been installed and the heating oil has been syphoned back into the new tank, the old tank is ready for disposal.

To remove and dispose of an oil tank, the contractor must hold a valid waste carriers license. To monitor the movement of hazardous waste, consignment numbers are used. The contractor purchases a consignment number from the NIEA and adds the consignment number to a prenotification form with the relevant waste codes. The prenotification is then submitted to the NIEA, a minimum of 1 day prior to the date of collection.

The contractor can then collect the oil tank and deliver it to a licensed waste facility for recycling.

Domestic OilTank Regulations Northern Ireland

Cut oil tank ready to be drained

2) Disposing of an unused oil tank

After a gas conversion, your old oil tank will need to be safely disposed off. The process is the same as above, the contractor, (gas engineer, plumber or specialist contractor) will be required to follow the NIEA guidelines.

  • Purchase a consignment number
  • Assign the number to a prenotification
  • Notify the NIEA 1 working day before removal
  • Deliver the tank to a licensed waste facility

Oil Tank Removal Companies

If you require the disposal of a domestic oil tank in Northern Ireland, call Removerr on 07434 691 809. We are fully licensed by the NIEA to remove and dispose of both plastic and metal oil tanks. Consignment number and prenotification form are submitted on your behalf, prior to all collections. If your claiming a grant under the affordable warmth scheme, we can provide all the necessary paperwork for the housing executive.

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