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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Colchester Borough Council is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to take action to minimise disruption and keep residents and visitors safe. 

Coronavirus: updates, advice and guidance

How to check your oil storage tank

Advice on how you can check your oil storage tank


  • Check your oil tank
  • Take care with your oil storage tank deliveries
  • Know what to do in an emergency
  • What to do if your oil storage tank leaks

It's your responsibility to keep your domestic oil storage tank safe.

Oil leaks can cause damage to property and the environment. Prolonged exposure to vapours could cause harm to health. It could cost you thousands of pounds and take months or years to clean up an oil spillage and there is a risk of prosecutions and fines. To prevent problems from occurring make sure your whole system is regularly checked and serviced by professionally qualified, competent engineers. Don't put it off - check your oil heater today.

Check your oil tank 

Are there any visible leaks or stains?  Are there any cracks or damage to the tank, pipes, sight gauges or the support system?  Is your tank old or in poor condition?  If any of these apply, get advice from a qualified and experienced engineer as soon as possible.  If repair or replacement is requireddo not attempt to do this yourself.

Make sure your oil storage tank has space 

Cut back any plants which are growing near or over the tank, as they could damage it. 

Take care with your oil storage tank deliveries 

Make sure that any deliveries of oil can be made safely and supervise them whenever possible.

Prevent vandalism 

Do what you can to prevent vandalism or theft, but do not make any changes that would affect how your system works. 

Check your insurance cover 

Some policies will only cover you for the cost of replacing lost oil, not for any clean up.  Most companies will not cover you at all if a leak is caused by lack of maintenance. 

Know what to do in an emergency 

Don't wait for a problem to occur, download and read a copy of the Essex Contaminated Land Consortium's domestic heating oil care guide: Oil Care Guide

Have an oil spill kit ready 

Have a basic spill kit ready (see the guide for details), but don't put yourself in any danger trying to stop or clean up a spill. 

Prepare for emergencies 

Keep a copy of emergency telephone numbers handy - or obtain a sticker for your tank from the Environment Agency by telephoning their National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506 506 

What to do if your oil storage tank leaks

  • Contact your insurance company immediately if a spill does occur
  • If your insurance policy does not cover you, you will need to employ your own accredited spill company.

What we can do to help 

We cannot clean up any oil that is spilt or undertake any repairs for you, but we may be able to help you find someone to clean up the oil, and to ensure that this is done to the correct standards. 

Contact us for advice 

Telephone: 01206 282581 


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