Oil storage tanks are not inherently dangerous but they still need to be sited correctly and certain provisions need to be made in case an oil leak ever did occur. OFTEC govern the way oil tanks should be installed and have issued a number of guidelines. Oil tanks also come under Building Control (Control of Pollution - oil storage) and so a strict number of minimum regulations must be met to safely and legally site and install your oil tank.

Your new oil tank replacement service consists of the following basic procedure:

•Pump out the existing oil to a temporary holding tank.
•Removal and recycling of the redundant tank.
•Installation of a new oil tank and tank base.
•Connect the new tank to the existing oil feed pipe.
•Transfer the oil into the new oil tank.
•Bleed the oil feed pipe and test the system.

With oil tank replacement and new installations I will carry out an on-site survey to discuss your requirements, give an 'Oil Storage Risk Assessment' and explain how to comply with the current oil storage regulations. In most cases I will be able to provide an on the spot written quotation for the work proposed.



Your oil tank can not simply be placed anywhere, there are a number of strict regulations concerning the positioning of your oil tank, all of which are for your own safety and also to reduce environmental risk. One of the most catastrophic risks of an oil tank is if it should catch fire obviously placing everything around the oil tank in immediate danger.

Check the access to your tank and its equipment

Keep the access to and around your tank clear at all times for safe deliveries, maintenance
and inspection. Avoid having to cross uneven, slippery or muddy ground to get to and
around the tank.


1. let plants grow around or too close to the tank.

2. camouflage the tank, for instance by growing tall plants or fitting fences and trellises
too close to it. There must be room for someone to walk round next to the tank.

3. Screening should be at least 600mm/2 feet away from the tank.

4. make any changes to the site that could hamper delivery tanker parking, hose
routing, ladder positioning, delivery, inspection or maintenance.

Below are just some of the regulations concerning oil tank positioning within private property:

Where a fire protection barrier is not provided a minimum distance of 760mm clearance between the tank and combustible boundary and a minimum of 1.8 m clearance between tank and combustible wall of building needs to be provided.

Where a fire protection barrier is provided (has fire resistance of at least 30 minutes and extends at least 300mm past tank) the tank can be placed closer to combustible materials.

Where the tank is sited next to non combustible walls or boundary the tank can be sited next to non combustible wall under no minimum restriction apart from the wall must extend at least 1.8m either side and above of the tank (unless protection cladding is used)

ERA is a new initiative that allows you to quickly and easily compare the relative risk of an environmental pollution incident originating from different types and different designs of fuel tanks and oil tanks. For more information, visit www.eraratings.org.uk.



Bund (also called secondary containment)
An area around the tank designed to contain any loss of fuel to prevent pollution. It can be manufactured as part of an integrally-bunded tank or built separately to the tank. It can be constructed from reinforced concrete or masonry and rendered impermeable to oil. Secondary containment should hold at least 110% of the tank's contents. This may be a legal requirement for some tanks.

Your tank may need to have secondary containment by law depending on where it is and what it's used for but, to protect the environment, you should consider having it provided anyway, even if it isn't a legal requirement.

A bund must be provided if any of these assessments are
met if the tank:

Has a capacity of greater than 2500 litres (also see section on Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 for tanks greater than 3500 litres capacity.)

is sited within 10m of a "controlled water" such as a stream, ditch, river, lake, pond, canal or coastal water.

is sited where any oil spillage could run into an open drain or loose fitting manhole cover.

is sited within 50m of sources of drinking water, such as a well, borehole or spring.

is sited over hard ground or hard surfaced ground that could allow spilled oil to enter "controlled water".

is sited where the tank vent pipe outlet cannot be seen from the fill point.

Where a bund is required it should be capable of holding 110% of the contents of the tank in the event of a leakage or spillage during filling. The best form of bunding is usually provided by using an integrally bunded oil tank.

If any rain water enters the bund it must be pumped out and must be disposed of safely and must be treated as special waste unless you know for sure that no oil contaminants are present. There must also be no further drain off points made into the bund wall.


Your oil tank needs to be sited over a non combustible base either purpose made or using an existing non combustible surface. A typical purpose made base would be made of concrete and will be made to suit the weight and size of oil tank that it will be used for. If an existing base or surface is to be used it should be assessed for its suitability before tank installation commences. All bases need to extend at least 300mm all the around the installed oil tank.

When a raised base must be used, the base must also be made from a non-combustible material. A raised base would be used where the tank is used to supply Aga's or non pressure jet boilers, gravity reliant appliances usually rely on the oil tank being sited higher than the appliance with the use of a raised base.


Oil supply pipes can be plastic-coated copper (or steel-protected from corrosion) or approved plastic pipe (for underground use). Pipes installed above ground should be supported by purpose-made clips and attached to permanent structures. Underground pipework should be protected from physical or accidental damage and its route marked with a warning tape. If serving a non-domestic application, it should incorporate a leak detecting facility. Any underground mechanical joints should be accessible for inspection.

The oil supply pipe(s) is usually annealed copper tube with a protective plastic coating and where possible supplied in continuous lengths. This type of pipe is used because of its adaptive properties as it can easily be manipulated around bends etc and also for its durability. Plastic pipe is available for oil lines but must be used for underground installations only.

If the supply pipe must include joints, the joints must be easily accessible, even if they are located underground (access ducts must be provided). The supply pipe must not feature galvanised pipe, fittings or soldered joints and should always be adequately sleeved where appropriate. Supply pipe size will be governed by the length of pipe that is required, please contact us for further details.


In order to meet requirements and indeed offer further protection at the risk of fire damage a fire valve must be fitted on the oil supply pipe between the tank and actual boiler or appliance. A fire valve is fitted as part of an installation and is not normally included within the normal boiler or appliance components.

The purpose of a fire valve is incase of fire the valve will shut of the supply of oil from the tank to the boiler or appliance, thus stopping further oil fueling the fire.

A fire valve is normally fitted to the supply pipe on the outside of the property whilst the sensor is installed on the inside within the boiler or appliance. If the sensor is triggered by fire it automatically switches the valve closed, thereby shutting off the supply of oil to the boiler or appliance. Fire valves must comply with OFTEC standard OFS E101.

In addition to the fire valve there will normally be a manual tank isolation valve located on or very near the actual tank. This can be used as a further measure to stop oil flowing through the pipe altogether.

The oil in your tank is valuable; you should consider taking appropriate security measures to prevent its theft, or unauthorised use, by providing suitable locks and/or lockable valves where necessary and then ensuring that they are used. This may be a legal requirement for some tanks. Your tank installation engineer or fuel delivery company will be able to advise you. Don't forget to provide the keys/combinations for these devices to the delivery company when a delivery is expected and you may not be present.



Be alerted to oil theft with this alarm system that activated during a sudden drop in oil levels. Suitable for steel and plastic tanks up to 3 meters in height. Transmitter to receiver range 200m.

The Oil Watchman Alarm is easy to install gauge and works by placing a transmitter on top of the tank which continually measures the level of oil in the tank.

In the event of the oil level in the tank dropping at a rate that is not common for a domestic oil tank, the receiver will emit an audible alarm that indicates a theft / leak is occurring.

A watchman alarm also transmits the approximate tank level to a receiver located in the home. The Oil Watchman Alarm reads the approximate level of fuel in your oil storage tank and wirelessly transmits the reading to an indoors receiver so there is no longer any need to go out in the cold to check your fuel level.

The transmitter which is fitted to the storage tank features a replacement lithium battery.

Gauge Ultrasonic Remote Tank Level Gauge
Display Increments of 10%
Range 200m
Power Supply Transmitter: 3 year CR2430 lithium cells
Receiver: 230v AC
Frequency 433 mHz FM Transmission
-10°C to +60°C
Operational Temp

watchman graphics

The device is universal and suitable for tanks of any shape or size from 0.5 up to 3.0m internal height as standard.

The receiver which simply plugs into any standard UK 3-pin socket includes a warning light which alerts you when your fuel level falls below 10%

To install the gauge is not difficult, as most plastic and steel tanks made in the last 5 years will already have a pre-cut aperture, in the unlikely event that this is not the case an industry standard 32mm diameter hole will need to be cut into the tank.


Always use a reputable fuel supplier and avoid changing supplier without good reason;
this could put you at risk of problems from poor service, or an unsafe delivery, caused by
unfamiliarity with your tank installation.
Before you order, check, as accurately as possible, how much fuel you will need. Don't
overestimate your oil needs as it could cause an overfill and spillage or a 'small quantity'
price surcharge for the reduced amount of fuel actually delivered.
Never ignore any previous advice from your fuel supplier on the condition of your tank,
pipes or access; they may refuse to supply you with oil if you haven't fixed it or they could
abort the delivery.
Before delivery, check that the tank is clearly labelled with its fuel capacity and with the
type of fuel it should contain.
Try to be present during the delivery. Otherwise, leave any gates, doors or other secured
barriers to access, unlocked and make sure that pets or other animals are secured.
Keep the access route to the tank clear of vehicles, bins, tools and equipment, or waste
After the delivery, check that the contents gauge registers the new quantity of oil (your fuel
may have been delivered elsewhere, or even leaked away). If you have a sight gauge, make
sure it hasn't been dislodged and its valve is in the closed position. Check for any changes
in appearance of the tank and its supporting structure. Check for any fresh oil spills or leaks
and report a suspected delivery spillage to the fuel supplier as soon as possible.
If you're concerned about any oil leak or spill.

call the UK pollution incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 for advice