209Householders in Hambleton are being urged to check the condition of their domestic oil tanks. 

The district council’s Environmental Health officers are warning that as the cold weather begins to set in and tanks are being filled to capacity, it is vital to check the state of the tank and pipework and to look for signs of corrosion and leaks.

“A tank in poor condition, with faulty pipework or connections, or not within a suitable bunded area can be at risk of leaks or spillages,” said Paul Staines, Head of Service for Environment.

“It can contaminate gardens and surrounding properties or seep into ground water, rivers and streams.  As well as being flammable, domestic fuel oil is toxic to vegetation and living organisms. And vapours can be harmful to health if allowed to build up in enclosed spaces, so if the tank is close to homes swift action is needed.

“If the spill occurs during filling of the tank, the fuel company is responsible but at any other time it is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the property. The spillage must be contained and cleaned up immediately which can be expensive, often several thousands of pounds, depending on the damage caused, so we do urge people to heed the warning.”

If there is a spill:

check tanks for signs of corrosion or areas of oil staining

contain it with absorbent material such as sand

cover nearby drain covers to prevent fuel oil getting into water systems

contact the Environmental Health team who can ensure the clean up is carried out properly

notify the home insurance company in case there is cover under the policy

If the spill goes unreported or any contamination remains untreated, local authorities have the power to secure the remediation of any contamination, whether it is caused by the fuel delivery company or at any other time.

Should assessment show that replacement oil tanks are needed Planning or Building Regulation approval should be checked.

For further information contact Environmental Health Technical Support on 01609 779977 or ehts@hambleton.gov.uk