What is a bunded oil tank and do you need one?

29 April 2024 9 view(s) 10 min read
What is a bunded oil tank and do you need one?

A bunded oil tank is a way to safely and securely store oil, whether it be petrol, diesel or agricultural fuels. The bunded tank is double-skinned, meaning it is a tank inside a tank. The surrounding space acts as a failsafe to catch oil leaks or spills from the core container.

What are bunded oil tanks needed for? Many commercial and industrial organisations are mandated to use a bunded oil tank to comply with relevant legislation. These regulations are designed for safety and security when storing fuel. But they are also designed for environmental protection, as single-skin tanks (without a bund) are considered to be less efficient and protective against leaks, which can pollute environments. 

As a reputable supplier of bunded oil tanks, at Kingfisher Direct, we can advise and support businesses in choosing the best equipment for the customers’ needs.

Bunded oil tanks: regulations you need to know about

Do I need a bunded oil tank?

What do bunded oil tanks cost? 

Where should I store a bunded oil tank?

Bunded oil tank FAQs

Where is the best place to buy a bunded oil tank?

Bunded oil tanks: regulations you need to know about

The rules on storing oil and using a bunded tank are governed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and vary according to who is storing it and whether it is for domestic, business, or agricultural and horticultural purposes.

Domestic oil storage regulations

Oil storage rules are in place for safety reasons and to prevent any hazardous spillages, fires or explosions. Navigating oil storage regulations is still an important topic for many homeowners, with 3% of UK homes having oil heating and the ban on installing new oil heating being pushed back to 2035. There are also ‘off-grid homes’ that are more likely to have oil storage facilities and need to follow these regulations. 

Domestic oil storage rules are tied to building regulations that apply when you have a new or replacement oil storage tank installed. Keep in mind that building regulations differ according to whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Following a risk assessment, you may need to buy a bunded oil tank. The sort of potential hazard that this assessment would consider is whether the oil is being stored close to an open drain, a loose-fitting manhole, or a water source such as a stream or well.

A bunded oil tank is also required if the oil you are storing is for more than one dwelling, such as a multi-occupant building or housing development.

With sizes ranging from 500 to 10,000 litres, bunded oil tanks can be purchased for many domestic purposes. Homeowners should allow 500 litres of capacity per bedroom, with an additional 500 litres for each regularly occupied room. The number of occupants should also impact how much extra storage you include.

Building and oil tank installation regulations can also vary between local authorities. Generally, they are focused on making sure that your oil storage is of a safe height and distance from buildings and your boundary. Also, it is necessary to note that domestic oil tanks can only hold up to 3,500 litres.

By not following these regulations, you run the risk of oil leaks which can pollute the surrounding environment and be hazardous to people and wildlife. If these regulations aren’t followed, you may face prosecution and subsequent fines.

Regulations for domestic oil storage include:

  • Tank support that is non-combustible, level, constructed of concrete and large enough to extend 300mm beyond the sides of the tank.
  • The tank is located 1.8m away from non-fire-rated buildings or structures, or building eaves.
  • Storage must be 1.8m away from openings in a fire-rated building, such as doors or windows.
  • Oil tanks must be 1.8m away from liquid fuel flue terminals, 760mm away from boundaries like wooden fen ces that are non-fire rates and 600mm away from foliage and other screening.
  • Regular checks by yourself and annual appliance servicing by professionals.

You can read more about the rules and regulations on domestic oil storage arrangements at the OFTEC website.

Oil storage regulations for businesses

There are detailed rules for how to store oil in a workplace that vary according to the amount and type of container used and whether you are keeping over 200 litres of oil on your premises. You must also follow these rules if you store over 3,500 litres at home. Regulations differ between different parts of the UK.

The framework for laws on oil storage is the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001. There are situations in which these regulations don’t need to be enforced, such as if you are storing oil underground.

In Scotland, you must be aware of your compliance obligations under the Water Environment (Oil Storage) Regulations 2006.

Requirements include that containers are strong enough, following British Standard 5410, to ensure they will not burst or leak. Also, the containers must be in a place that minimises risks of damage from impacts, or preventative measures need to be taken, such as barriers and bollards, around the tank.

Following these guidelines reduces the risks of leaks that can pollute surrounding areas and be hazardous to people and wildlife. You run the risk of fines or prosecution if these requirements aren’t adhered to.

Oil storage regulations for farms

Farmers, land managers and tenant farmers must follow specialist rules for storing agricultural fuel oil. These are strictly monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency as champions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 

Failure to actively avoid causing pollution and follow these rules can lead to prosecution and fines. Users can purchase agricultural bunded oil tanks at Kingfisher Direct which are a suitable oil storage solution for your specific needs.

Do I need a bunded oil tank?

You may be wondering, do I need a bunded oil tank? Storing oil at a domestic address or at a workplace carries risks, especially safety considerations due to oil’s flammability. It is also a serious pollutant, and you are mandated to ensure that oil doesn’t leak into the surrounding area. The environmental damage from leaked oil includes harming plants and marine life, and damaging waterways and soil. It can even find its way into drinking water supplies.

For all these reasons, and to remain compliant with oil storage regulations, it is highly recommended that you purchase a durable bunded oil tank. With the failsafe of the outer tank, a bunded oil tank will collect any leaked fuel, preventing any fuel from spreading to the surrounding environment, and even keeping the fuel usable. There are also additional safety features that can be included such as a locking fill point to prevent fuel theft, and tank level gauges to prevent overfilling.

There are various sizes and types of bunded oil tanks in our range, to enable you to find one that matches the quantity of oil you will be storing, and the amount of space you have for the safe storage of oil.

What do bunded oil tanks cost? 

The cost of bunded oil tanks varies according to the capacity and design. At Kingfisher Direct, prices start at £850 (excluding VAT) for a 650-litre tank, up to £5,555 (excluding VAT) for a 15,000-litre tank, at the time of publication. 

All of our bunded oil tanks are engineered from UV-resistant polyethylene, which makes them an affordable, compliant and purpose-engineered option as an oil storage system.

Whether you choose a small or a large-capacity bunded oil tank, all offer the durability, safety, security and environmental protection needed to comply with legislation but also your needs.

Where should I store a bunded oil tank?

It is important to consider where you should place your bunded oil tank. This is not just a matter of convenience or the use of available space. The place that you choose for storage will also impact your compliance with bunded oil tank regulations, and there will also be safety and environmental issues to consider.

When you buy a bunded oil tank, it must be installed at least 10 metres away from inland or coastal waters. It also needs to be in an area that’s unlikely to flood, and at least 50 metres away from a spring. All of this is to ensure that an oil spillage does not pollute the local water table.

The oil tank must never be kept at a height, such as on your roof. Instead, you need to place your bunded oil tank at ground level, or below the ground. This makes it less likely that a spillage or leak will happen during oil deliveries or maintenance work on the tank.

The best place for storing a bunded oil tank is also somewhere out of the way. Avoid storing this oil container in a place where it could be knocked, dented or damaged by vehicles and machinery. It is also recommended that the tank be placed somewhere protected from extreme weather conditions.

Bunded oil tank FAQs

What is the life expectancy of a bunded oil tank?

The life expectancy of a bunded oil tank depends on the quality of the fuel storage container you select. Our robust tanks moulded from durable, UV-resistant plastic are guaranteed for between 1 and 10 years, depending on which size you choose. However, they could last between 15 and 20 years if stored and maintained correctly.

Professional maintenance of bunded oil tanks can prolong their life considerably.

Also, it is advisable to regularly check for visible signs that your oil tank needs to be replaced, such as corrosion on metal oil tanks.

Should I buy a second-hand oil tank?

If you’re thinking about buying a second-hand oil tank, it is important to approach this with caution as there are some things you need to consider.

Even the best bunded oil tanks eventually lose some of their integrity, and all oil tanks should be maintained correctly to ensure that they are up to standard. You may even face repair and upgrade costs, on top of transport and installation fees, for oil tanks that are pre-used.

Getting the history of a pre-used oil tank can be tricky, and it may even have been manufactured before the tightening of fuel storage rules. Also, if you choose a second-hand oil tank, it is not always easy to spot the impact of wear and tear. Corrosion on metal oil tanks may be obvious, but bulges on older plastic fuel storage systems are not always as clear.

Investing in a new bunded oil tank provides important reassurance that you are storing oil safely, compliantly and without risk to the environment around your oil container. It also means less potential costs for repairing, and you will also have knowledge of its history, so you can be more certain about the important aspects of compliance and any issues, such as leaks.

How much oil can a tank store?

There are different sizes of high-quality bunded oil tanks in our range at different costs for compliant oil storage systems.

For example, you could select a workplace oil tank that holds 650 litres if your operation requirements and available space make this your ideal option. However, if you are operating a large fleet or have a considerable industrial need for oil on your premises, our range includes a bunded oil tank that holds 10,000 litres

Where should I store my oil tank?

As explained earlier, the fundamental considerations for storing an oil tank are the distance from water sources and the potential impact on the area around its placement. You must also consider protection from extreme environmental conditions and ease of access to minimise spillage risks when the tank is being filled or used.

How do I know how much oil is in my tank?

The best basic bunded oil tanks include a clear plastic tube on their side. This tube can be used as a gauge to check the level of oil in your tank.

We also supply accessories for industrial bunded oil tanks, such as the Apollo Ultrasonic Tank Level Gauge, which monitors the level of fuel in your oil tank and wirelessly transmits the readings to a receiver unit.

How are oil tanks safe and secure from thieves or vandals?

Oil is an expensive commodity. Therefore, it is natural when considering the best way to store oil safely to also protect your fuel tank from intruders, or unauthorised employees.

There is also the option to have a lockable hinged flap lid on an oil tank, and lockable cabinets with a high-quality overfill alarm, designed to detect overfill and low liquid levels. They also alert you to potential breaches in the bund layer of the tank.

Where is the best place to buy a bunded oil tank?

Choosing a reputable supplier who can help and advise you to make the correct choice based on your specific needs is paramount. To be confident that you are buying purpose-designed and well-engineered oil tanks that meet current legislation, our range is an ideal place to start. 

You can choose from different industrial oil tank capacities to match your storage needs and budget. You then have the option of buying fuel storage accessories and smaller, portable fuel containers from the same expert supplier of oil tanks. This includes, for instance, innovative oil tank content gauges and additional security features that are built to keep oil stores safe.

When selecting the most cost-effective bunded oil tank (with the correct capacity), keep in mind that the installation should be handled by an OFTEC Registered Oil Tank Installation Technician. This ensures that you are compliant with legislation and are following the manufacturer’s instructions, which in turn validates the guarantee attached to our high-grade bunded oil tanks.

Powered by Amasty Magento 2 Blog Extension
Practical help & advice from our friendly team
Highly rated by our customers on reviews.io
Competitive prices & secure online payment
UK's largest online range of bins & street furniture