A leaking oil tank can be a dissaster, not just on your pocket but also for the environment.
What to do if you have a leaking oil tank
So you think you have a leak, usually identified by smell or sight as the smell of heating oil (kerosene) is extremely potent.
Identifying where the leak is coming from.
Check entire length of the oil supply pipe if possible, check the outside of your oil tank and look for a greasy wet look on paving stones, bricks or tiles. Plastic and steel oil tanks often look wet even when the leak is small. Oil leaks often become apparent when vegetation dies, grass becomes patchy and dies for no apparent reason.
What to do if the oil supply pipe is leaking.
So now you have identified that the oil supply pipework is leaking, the first thing to do is turn the oil supply off at the oil tank. This is normally done by turning off the valve at the bottom of your tank where the pipe connects to it. Once the oil supply is turned off, make sure to catch any leaking oil into a tub if possible in order to stop oil contamination.
What to do if the oil tank is leaking.
If you identify the oil tank as the source of the leak, this can be serious and needs to be dealt with urgently. If turning the oil off will not stop the leak, the only way to stop the leak is to plug it and then remove the oil from the tank. If your plastic oil tank has cracked, it may be possible to temporarily seal the leak by rubbing a bar of soap into the crack, you must immediately then contact an OFTEC registered engineer.
Containment of the leak.
Oil leaks are categorised as either 'major' or 'minor'. A minor oil leak is one where less than aproximately five litres of oil is lost, no smell exists indoors, no water has made it into a drain or watercourse such as a pond, open water, drain, manhole or sewer. If any of these conditions are breached then the leak is classified as a major leak. If this is the case, it is essential that you report the leak to both your insurance company and your local authority in a timely manner to prevent further damage.
Following an oil leak, depending on the severity it may be neccissary to remove any contaminated materials. This can be an expensive process and your insurance provider should be notified. Contaminated soil, building structures, watercourses all need to be treated to prevent further spread of contamination. Specialist decontamination companies are available to carry this work out for you, who are experts in removing all traces of oil.
In order to reduce the risk of having an oil leak, you should have your equipment checked annually by an OFTEC registered technician. It is also advisable to keep a spill & repair kit to reduce your response time when dealing with the leak. This can include bars of soap which can be used to block small cracks, cat litter or sand which can be used to absorb pools of oil. Dedicated spill kits are also available which are specifically designed to absorb oil.