Why Is Oil Tank Maintenance Important?


Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the government body responsible for the management of Wales’ natural resources, has urged the owners of domestic oil tanks to ensure they undertake regular maintenance checks this winter to avoid any environmental damage stemming from fuel spillages.

The Leader reports that owners of domestic oil tanks have a legal responsibility to ensure storage facilities are in working order and do not pose a risk of causing pollution. However, every year there are a large number of incidents that resulted from leaking oil tanks.

Aside from the significant damage caused to the environment, killing plants, wildlife, and contaminating water supplies, it can leave homeowners facing huge fines, as well as the cost of replacing the lost oil.

Huw Jones, Environment Team Leader with NRW explained that it is vital to get checks completed as the UK starts its wet and wintery seasons, and tanks and pipework should all be checked to ensure water is not getting into the tank.

“When water enters an oil tank it accumulates below the heating oil at the base of the tank. This may not immediately cause a problem, but once the volume of water increases it can also enter the fuel supply pipework,” he said.

Water in a steel tank can also lead to corrosion, and when temperatures fall low enough, it can expand and freeze, potentially rupturing pipes and fittings, and ultimately leaks and damage to the environment.

Joe Bath, Technical Manager, Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) added: “Domestic heating oil can seriously impact the environment and many spillages can easily be avoided by regularly checking tanks and their pipework and keeping them well maintained.”

He advised that to prevent water ingress, tanks should be regularly checked, and fitting inspected for cracks, rust, or small leaks, and it would be wise to check your tank before and after fuel delivery.

Having your tank checked annually by a competent person, such as an OFTEC registered technician, is an excellent precaution, as they will not only be able to identify defects that might lead to water entering the tank but can also quickly and simply check for the presence of water.

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