Pollution incidents

Accidental or deliberate releases of contaminants such as oils and chemicals may be harmful to human health and the environment.

Such events should be reported as early as possible to the Environment Agency (24 hours a day pollution hotline: 0800 80 70 60). In cases where there are potential human health implications, our Environmental Protection team should also be contacted. The earlier such incidents are reported then the easier they can be dealt with.

A large number of events arise due to domestic heating oil spills, such spills can be particularly problematic if heating oil leaks into the ground and subsequently migrates beneath buildings or into a watercourse. The former of these scenarios can result in harmful vapours migrating upwards into buildings. In any case clean up operations are likely to be less costly if they are completed soon after the incident. Correct storage of heating oil can reduce the likelihood of oil spills occurring.

The use of "double skinned" fuel tanks can reduce the risk of tank failure. Tanks should also be placed on a flat level secure base and contained within an impermeable bund with capacity for 110% of that which the tank can hold. The risk of oil being lost from ancillary equipment such as pipework and valves is high and this apparatus should therefore also be contained within a secondary containment system. In some cases compliance will be required with the (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001, these maybe found within Defra's guidance note for the control of pollution.