Best Practice Oil and Fuel

Storage and Transport

  • Containers must be of sufficient strength to avoid bursting or leakage under normal operating conditions
  • Containers must be securely stored within a secondary containment system (SCS) or bund
  • Bunds must be able to hold 110% of the largest container or 25% of total volume, whichever is larger
  • Ensure all valves, filters, sight gauges and pipe work are contained within the bund when not in use
  • Ensure single drums have a drip tray capable of containing 25% of its capacity
  • Ensure mobile bowsers are self-bunded, stored in a bund or have a drip tray
  • Ensure bunds are impermeable to water and oil, and do not contain any drainage valves
  • Any above ground pipe work must be properly supported and maintained
  • Protect underground pipe work from damage with detection measures in case of leaks. Mechanical joints need to have accessible inspection points.
  • Position storage tanks away from any possible damage from traffic, and secure from vandals
  • Ensure fixed storage tanks cannot move from their base or float away in the event of unusually high tides or floods as this causes pipelines to break and oil to be spilled. Avoid placing tanks in areas at risk from flooding. Contact your local Environment Agency, SEPA, NRW or EANI office to check if your tank is located in a flood plain
  • Tanks and bunds should be maintained and checked regularly
  • Install fuel tanks and pipe work above ground whenever possible to enable regular maintenance checks to be carried out and leaks to be identified earlier
  • Install fuel tanks at least 10 metres away from the water if possible
  • Consult Defra or your local EA/SEPA/NRW/EANI office if you have to install storage tanks underground
  • When refuelling, whenever possible, do so within the bunded area
  • Oil and fuel should not be stored on pontoons as the risk of pollution is greatly increased. Where this is unavoidable, discuss the necessary pollution prevention measures with your local EA/SEPA/NRW/EANI office


  • Dispose of oil as hazardous waste in specialist containers so that it can be reconditioned
  • Provide oil recycling facilities for customers and tenants
  • Dispose of oily rags as hazardous waste


  • Maintain all delivery hoses, pipe work and trigger nozzles to a high standard and secure them to prevent unauthorised interference. Clearly display a notice providing advice on how to avoid spillages and what to do if they occur
  • Ensure flexible delivery pipes are kept within a bund and have a cut-off valve or lockable valve where it leaves the container. “Trigger” delivery nozzles with automatic cut-off on release are considered good practice
  • Locate dispensing facilities in an area where spills can be contained easily e.g. away from main river flows or heavy river traffic. When refuelling, vessels should be adjacent to the dispensing point to ensure no spills
  • Consider allocating a separate berth, which is used only for refuelling

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Leaflets and Resources