FUEL and oil spills or leaks are a serious business, both for the environment and those responsible for their source.
According to Environment Agency figures, there are around 3,000 reported incidents involving oil and fuel spills each year with major occurrences costing the owners of faulty or leaking installations an average of £30,000 each, in fines and clean up costs.
Every individual or organisation storing fuel must follow the Pollution Prevention Guidelines which are policed by the Environment Agency.
“The message is clear,” says Martyn Gent, Sales and Marketing Director of UK commercial fuelling solutions specialist Cameron Forecourt: “Fuel supplies need to be both safe and secure and operators need a clearly defined plan for regular maintenance, security and contingency in case of emergency.”
Electronic tank gauging and environmental monitoring systems such as Cameron’s TLS range are capable of detecting any depletion of fuel stock extremely accurately. Any unexplained reduction in stock not attributable to normal influences such as temperature deviations triggers an alarm. By linking to advanced fuel management systems it is possible for emergency messages to be sent instantly via SMS to the appropriate personnel so that they can take immediate action.
Like the Environment Agency, Cameron Forecourt also recommends regular inspections and maintenance – at least annually — to ensure that equipment is maintained in serviceable condition with tanks, pipework and dispense pumps all checked for leaks or potential problems.
Compliance with Pollution Prevention guidelines covering fuel storage (PPG2, PPG3 and PPG7) is the responsibility of all operators and not an option. Cameron Forecourt offers comprehensive environmental surveys using the knowledge of its expert staff to assess and minimise risk, check legal compliance and offer the optimum most cost-effective solutions for any necessary remedial work.
“Regular, planned maintenance is a far better policy than ad hoc repairs that amount to a ‘forced purchase’,” adds Martyn Gent.
Cameron Forecourt has more than 30 highly trained engineers operating nationwide to provide both contract and emergency service to customers with all types of fuelling installation and aims to have an engineer on site within 8 working hours for repairs and even sooner for sites that are out of action or have possible environmental issues.
“Of course, even though people might take every necessary step to safeguard their equipment occasional problems can still occur. That’s why we also offer free advice on things operators can do to mitigate the effects should the unthinkable happen,” says Martin Gent.
If a spill occurs, the priority must be to contain it as fuel and oil can penetrate several miles into the surrounding area in a relatively short time, polluting water courses and rivers.
Bunded tanks with concrete or brick-built bund walls can be a significant help, and when installing new above or below ground tanks it is worthwhile considering an upgrade to a self-contained PPG2 compliant double skinned replacement tank.
There are a number of simple items that seem to be missing from many sites and are considered to be a NON COMPLIAINCE, these include:-
- SWC (Safe Working Capacity) Labels on Tanks
- Adequate hazard signage
- Spill Kits to ensure smaller leaks or spills can be quickly dealt with
- Bund alarms to indicate overfills in dual skinned tanks
- Accurate tank gauge systems which also show the free space, important for tanker delivery drivers to ensure they only deliver what will actually fit into your tank!