Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Where to locate your oil storage container

Where to locate your oil storage container

You should consider safety, security, access for deliveries and repairs, and maintenance needs when deciding where to locate your oil storage containers. This will help you comply with regulations and minimise the risk of pollution.

An oil storage container can include a tank, drum, mobile bowser or intermediate bulk container.

You should always store oil in a container that is above ground. Underground tanks and their associated pipework are a high risk to the environment as they are difficult to inspect and leaks may not be easy to detect.

GOV.UK Oil storage informations

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

Avoid storing oil containers on roofs.

Try to position oil containers or stores where there is minimal chance of collision or impact, for example from moving vehicles. If the Oil Storage Regulations apply, you must ensure you protect the containers and the secondary containment system.

You should ensure that the surface of the area where deliveries are made is protected by an impermeable surface, and is away from surface water drainage systems. This will help you to avoid causing pollution from escaped oil.

Try not to store oil in a pollution risk area. This includes within 10 metres of a watercourse/waterway or within 50 metres of a well, spring or borehole. If this is unavoidable you may need to have additional pollution prevention measures.

See the page in this guideline: Oil storage container requirements

Avoid locating your container on a flood plain. It may float in the event of flooding, causing pipelines to break and oil to spill. If this is unavoidable, you must ensure that the container is fixed to a secure base or other measures are taken.

Your container should always be located within a secondary containment system (SCS), such as a bund. If the Oil Storage Regulations apply to your business or site, you must store your oil in a SCS.

See the page in this guideline: Secondary containment systems for oil storage containers

If you are unable to comply with any of the requirements above, you should contact the NIEA or SEPA for advice.

Contact your environmental regulator


Further information

DAERA: Oil storage guidance for Northern Ireland

 SEPA: Oil storage guidance for Scotland

PPG 27 Installation, decommissioning and removal of underground storage tanks (Adobe PDF – 96KB)

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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