Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Maintaining your oil storage containers

Maintaining your oil storage containers

You should carry out a weekly check of containers, secondary containment systems (SCS), pipework and other ancillary equipment. This should include looking for:

  • damage or corrosion
  • any changes to a container's shape, eg bulging or distortion
  • oil stains or any leaks
  • closed or locked valves and gauges.

You should carry out routine maintenance of containers and SCS to prevent any risk of pollution. Keep a record of when inspections and maintenance are carried out and who by.

You should always look out for any signs of damage or interference to your tank or pipework. If you find any problems, get repairs carried out immediately by a competent, qualified technician. For information on preventing leaks from your pipework, see the page in this guideline: Oil container pipework and fittings requirements

As well as a weekly check, you should use a qualified technician to carry out a detailed annual inspection and service of your storage facilities, including:

  • checking the condition of tank surfaces, SCS and supports for pipework
  • checking the condition and operation of pipework and fittings
  • removing and disposing of any condensation water or sludge in your tank.

You should receive a report about your tank which details any faults that must be fixed before you can continue to use your oil storage.

Qualified technicians should be a member of a professional scheme for qualified tank installers, for example the Petroleum Equipment Installers and Maintenance Federation (PEIMF) or the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC).


Good practice for storing oil underground

Below-ground tanks and their associated pipework are a high risk to the environment as they are difficult to inspect and leaks may not be immediately obvious.

You should pay extra attention to oil stored below ground to reduce these risks. You should:

  • Supervise deliveries to make sure that the tank is not overfilled.
  • Monitor the amount of oil you are using. If an unexpected increase occurs, investigate the cause - the container or pipework may have an undetected leak.
  • Maintain gauges, valves and pipework on a regular basis.

SEPA: Code of practice for owners and operators of underground storage tanks


Further information

NIEA and SEPA Water Pollution Hotline 0800 80 70 60

DAERA: Oil storage guidance for Northern Ireland

SEPA: Oil storage guidance for Scotland

GPP 2 Above ground oil storage tanks (Adobe PDF - 276KB)

Petroleum Equipment Installers and Maintenance Federation: Contact details

OFTEC: Oil Storage technicians search

In this Guideline

Where to locate your oil storage container

Requirements for your oil storage container

Secondary containment systems (Bunding)

Pipework and fittings for oil storage

Mobile bowsers for oil and fuel

Maintaining your oil storage containers

Prevent pollution: dealing with oil spills

Oil storage - Further information

Oil storage environmental legislation

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