Oil storage tanks are not dangerous within themselves but they still need to be sited in the correct place and you need to make allowances in case an oil leak was to occur.
Oftec govern the way oil tanks should be installed and have issued a number of guidelines. Both Oil Storage Regulations and Building Regulations apply to domestic storage. Oil Storage Regulations state that if you are storing below 3500 litres you are exempt. If you are considering storing more than 3500 litres any new installation must be bunded.
Tanks with a capacity not exceeding 3400 litres should not be fitted any closer than
• 1 .8m away from non-fire rated eaves of a building
• 1 .8m away from a non-fire building or structure (eg garden sheds)
• 1 .8m away from appliance flue terminals
• 760 mm away from a non-fire rated boundary such as a wooden boundary fence
• 1.8m away from openings (such as doors or windows) in a fire rated building or structure (eg. brick buiIt house/garage).
If its impossible to comply with these requirements, then a fire rated barrier of at least 30 minutes should be provided, extending 300mm higher and wider than both ends of the tank.
Alongside these restrictions are also a series of other regulations relating to the position of the tank in relation to any open or controlled water source.
The Environment Agency can impose uncapped fines on anyone who causes any spill, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the site owner as it is the polluter who pays.
You may be prosecuted and fined if oil from your site enters the ground or watercourses and you may have to pay substantial clean-up costs. The Oil Storage Regulations are designed to prevent oil spills. If in any doubt of the regulations that affect you, consult your local authority.