The arrival of The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010, which is set to take effect on 20th March this year, will make significant changes to both new and existing oil storage installations. It has been changed for a number of reasons, one being that oil represented approximately 14% of substantiated pollution incidents in 2009 according to the investigation carried out by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
With the change in regulation comes the purpose to promote a minimum legal requirement for the storage of oil.
The oils that will be affected by this change in regulation include:
- • Agricultural fuel oil
- • Diesel and biodiesel
- • Gas oil, bioheating oil and heating oil
- • Kerosene
- • Lubricants
- • Oil based solvents
- • Mineral oil, plant oil, vegetable oil and waste oils
- • Paraffin
Many will be affected as the regulations have been made applicable to all internal and external above ground storage installations. Businesses with an installed capacity greater than 200 litres will be affected the most, which will include:
- • Commercial businesses
- • Industrial businesses
- • Institutional businesses
- • Domestic premises with an installed capacity greater than 3,500 litres. However, if installation capacity is less you are subjected to the Building Regulations in your area.
- • Waste oil storage and collection facilities
This new regulation will also concern companies who store 2,500 tonnes or more of oil and who refine and distribute oil and without being regulated by The Control of Major Accident Hazards (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2000.
The installations that will be affected by the change in the regulation include:
- • Fixed storage tanks
- • Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)
- • Drums
- • Bowsers and other similar, mobile storage / dispensing tanks
The regulation change does however; bring the area up to date with current regulations found in the UK and mainland Europe. The principle measures of the new regulation in Northern Ireland are to ensure safety and legal requirements for storing large amounts of oil. The new requirements highlighted in the regulation include:
- • Storage containers such as tanks and drums must be strong enough to store oil without bursting and should be positioned to minimise the risk of vehicular impact.
- • To contain any oil spilt from the primary storage container, a secondary containment system should be incorporated. It is also advised that the base and walls of any bund must be impermeable to oil.
- • The secondary containment system must be able to store a minimum of 110% of the primary storage container. If there is more than one container, the system must be able to contain either 110% of the capacity of the largest storage container or 25% of the cumulative total – depending on which is the greater.
- • Aboveground pipework must be properly supported and underground pipework must be protected from any damage, whether physical or chemical.
When it begins
The Regulations will be implemented in three stages:
- • By 20 September 2011 all new oil storage facilities must comply
- • By 20 March 2013 existing oil storage facilities within 10 metres of a waterway or within 50 metres of a well, borehole or spring must comply
- • By 31 December 2015 all remaining oil storage facilities should comply.
Further information on the new Regulations is available from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency