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OFTEC Inspection Solutions | Fuel Storage

As you would expect from a leading critical power supply company Dale Power Solutions are an employer of engineers who are OFTEC registered.

The Environment Agency reports that there are approximately 3000 pollution incidents involving oil and fuels every year in the UK, making this the second most frequent type of pollutant of inland waters in the UK, after plastic. On average, an oil spill can cost a business up to £8 million in fines, clean up charges and production losses. Not only this, but if you pollute, as stated in the Pollution Prevention Guidelines, ‘’you could get an unlimited fine, go to prison for up to 5 years, or both’’. You may also have to pay for the whole cost of the clean-up. There could also be additional costs in terms of compensation to third parties, higher insurance premiums or loss of contracts. With damage to your reputation too – it’s certainly something that any business owner should seek to avoid. Luckily with an OFTEC inspection, you can reduce the risk of oil spills and oil leakages from both your generators and fuel tanks.

Recommended annually, an OFTEC inspection from Dale Power Solutions ensures that yours is carried out by an OFTEC-registered engineer or OFTEC-registered technician. By carrying out a tank inspection by a qualified engineer you are minimising the risks and associated penalties that come with an oil spill or oil leakage, and should you pass, you’ll receive an OFTEC certificate that is valid for 5 years.

Covering everything from the condition, construction, type of oil and identification of your oil tank through to bund compliance, gauge inspections and environmental considerations, our OFTEC inspections are thorough, reliable and industry-compliant. You can be certain that after an OFTEC inspection with Dale Power Solutions, you will have the information and tools you need to prevent oil spills and oil leakages, and actionable advice for increased protection, and health and safety.

Along with diesel check fuel testing, clear tank cleaning and diesel defence fuel polishing, we can handle it all. To learn more about what our OFTEC inspections involve and just what we can do for you, please contact us today on 0330 999 3000. We’ve carried out tank inspections across the UK, in areas including Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Cardiff, so no distance is too great for us.

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OFTEC & Environmental Legislation

Annual OFTEC surveys offer peace of mind that your oil storage is being suitably maintained and that it remains compliant with all current regulations. The regulations are extensive and far-reaching, though simple to follow, and include:
From the Control of pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001:

  • Clause 22: “Regular inspection by qualified inspectors of your containers will ensure that potential defects are found and corrected before causing problems and are ensuring that containers do not cause pollution”
  • Clause 27: “A more detailed annual check by a trained operator, e.g. in the OFTEC registered scheme, is also recommended to ensure there is no corrosion, mechanical damage or oil leaks”.

It’s important to note that The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 set out the requirements to be met for the safe storage of oil in containers above ground. As of 1st September, 2005, all oil storage containers above 200 litres are required to comply with these regulations.
The Environmental Alliance – comprising the Environment Agency (EA) for England and Wales, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) for Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for Scotland – have also produced the Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs). These are a collection of documents that provide best practice guidance to avoid pollution in various practical types of activities, and also make reference to associated legal requirements. Most notably, in relation to oil and OFTEC inspections, are “PPG 2: Above ground oil storage tanks”, “PPG 3: Use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems’’, ‘’GPP 8: Safe storage and disposal of used oils’’ and ‘’GPP 22: Dealing with spills’’.

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Below we outline important guidance and recommendations to follow from these five PPGs:

PPG 2: Above ground oil storage tanks:

Deciding where to put your fuel tank can be tricky, but the Environmental Alliance recommends that you don’t store oil in high risk locations, which include:

  • Within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole.
  • Within 10 metres of a watercourse.
  • Places where spilt oil could enter open drains, loose fitting manhole covers or soak into the ground where it could pollute groundwater.
  • Places where a spill could run over hard ground to enter a watercourse or soak into the ground where it could pollute groundwater.
  • Places where tank vent pipe outlets can’t be seen from the filling point.
  • Above roof level, as spilt oil can run unseen into guttering connected to surface water systems.
  • Source Protection Zones (SPZs) where groundwater is particularly vulnerable.

PPG 3: Use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems

Under ‘Maintenance and use’, they claim that to prevent pollution and reduce costs, you should manage your separator effectively. All parts of the separator that have to be regularly maintained must be accessible at all times, and every 6 months, experienced personnel should:

  • Physically inspect the integrity of the separator and all mechanical parts.
  • Assess the depth of accumulated oil and silt.
  • Service all electrical equipment such as alarms and separator management systems.
  • Check the condition of any coalescing device and replace it if necessary.

GPP 8: Safe storage and disposal of used oils

Under section 4: ‘Disposing of commercial and industrial used oil’ of GPP 8, it states:

‘’Used mineral oil from commercial and industrial sources will be classified as hazardous/special waste. It must be managed in accordance with the relevant regulations which impose legal requirements for its movement, recovery and disposal.’’

This involves:

  • Accurately describing your waste, including any hazardous properties.
  • Safe and secure storage of waste.
  • Segregation of hazardous/special waste.
  • The use of a registered waste carrier to remove waste from your site. You should also know where the carrier takes your waste for onward management.
  • The use of consignment notes for hazardous special waste.
  • Keeping records – everyone involved in the transfer must keep copies of Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes for a minimum of three years.

GPP 22: Dealing with spills

Under section ‘’2.2 Assess your risk’’, it states that businesses, ‘’should carry out a pollution risk assessment or pollution prevention plan’’ that considers the following:

  • Physical, chemical and biological properties of any material that may be spilt.
  • How materials are stored or transported and the condition of storage containers.
  • Possible effects of accidents, flooding, vandalism and failure of containment.
  • Location, including how close you are to local water courses, sensitive groundwater.
  • Locations, public water abstraction points and environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Surface water drains and foul sewers that flow off your site.
  • Any sustainable drainage systems you have on your site.
  • Operations and layout of your site, or factors to look out for in road traffic collisions.
  • Risks posed to people and the environment and the extent of the possible damage.
  • Local landscape and different weather conditions and the flood risk that could be reasonably expected at and around your site.

At Dale Power Solutions, we have in depth knowledge of the regulations that you should follow to minimise risk. For more information on the related GPPs, please contact us today on 0330 999 3000 and visit Netregs for the PPGs themselves.

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What Does An OFTEC Inspection Include?

An OFTEC Inspection from Dale Power Solutions ensures compliance with industry regulations and OFTEC-approved controls. An extensive inspection, it covers the following functions:

Tank Features
Taking its location, condition and construction into account, we also look at the type of oil used, its age and identification.

Condition of Pipework
From your gathering pipelines and your feeder pipelines through to your transmission pipelines and distribution pipelines, we look out for corrosion, cracks, environmental pressure and any potential damage from installation or excavation.

Corrosion, one of the most common causes of pipeline issues, can be of 3 types:

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External Corrosion

Usually arising from external conditions of heat, water or pressure combined with contact with corrosive materials such as acidic soil.

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Corrosion Defects

Due to physical characteristics such as pipeline shape or form, or from issues resulting from handling or installation.

An OFTEC inspection will cover all of this, as well as check weld integrity, look out for cracks and fractures in the pipelines, consider pipe alignment and wall thickness, and that everything is in working order.

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Condition of Tank Supports and Base Quality
A visual check of the base and supports of the fuel storage tank for cracking and subsidence is very important. An uneven base, or incorrectly fitted base, could cause an oil tank to succumb to pressure, especially when full. This could lead to stretching and the formation of cracks and splits. We can check for all of this, and make recommendations on base types too.

Bund Compliance
Also known as ‘secondary containment’, a bund is an area around a tank and its ancillary equipment designed to contain any loss of oil and to prevent any environmental impact. A bund must hold at least 110% of the volume of oil the tank is designed to contain, with that extra 10% taking into account everything from sudden tank failures and leaks through to loss of the total tank contents, overfilling and containment of fire-fighting agents.

Bunds may also be impermeable to oil and water with no direct outlet such as a pipe, valve or other opening to drain the system.

Inspection of Gauges, Level Alarms and Fire Valves

For example, sight gauges will be checked that they:

  • Have a bracket along the length of the sight gauge tube that fixes the tube to the tank so that it can’t be knocked over.
  • Are fitted with a valve that closes automatically when the gauge is not in use.
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Inspection of Associated Ancillary Equipment

If your fixed tank has a pump, we’ll check that:

  • Your pump has a valve in its feed line that prevents the tank contents emptying if there’s damage to the pump or feed line.
  • It’s positioned to reduce the risk of damage by impact – for example, away from tanker turning circles and fork lift truck routes.
  • It’s protected against oil theft – for example, by keeping the pump in a lockable cage.

Inspection of Overfill and Impact Protection

If the vent pipe of a fixed tank, and the tank itself, cannot be seen from where the tank is filled, we’ll check that an automatic overfill prevention device has been fitted to the tank. This may be a device that cuts off the flow of oil to the tank when it’s full, a sounding alarm or fixed tank probe that sends a signal to alert the person filling the tank when the tank is full.

Inspection of Fill Points, Draw Off Points and Vents

Fill pipes, draw off pipes and overflow pipes must be positioned in a location that minimises the risk of damage by impact – for example away from driveways, tanker turning circles, and fork lift truck routes.

Also, if you fill your tank or container through a remote pipe (i.e. you fill your container at a fill point that’s outside the bund/secondary containment), we’ll check that you’re using a drip tray to catch any oil that may be spilled during its delivery.

If your fixed tank has any vent pipes, taps or valves, we’ll also check:

  • That the vent pipes, taps or valves are within the valve.
  • They are arranged so that any oil coming out of them will go vertically down the bund.
  • That taps and valves have a lock and can be locked when not in use.

We will also discuss your processes and procedures for operation, filling and spill response, and ensure that environmental issues and fire issues are at the forefront of your business.

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What Are The Benefits of an OFTEC Inspection?

An OFTEC Inspection from a qualified and competent team member offers many advantages, including:

  • Quality Assurance: As an OFTEC-registered business we possess the necessary skills to carry out tank inspections effectively, working to recognised practices and standards that OFTEC, the government and The Environmental Alliance have laid out.
  • Extensive Inspection: Our OFTEC inspections are thorough and extensive, looking at everything from the condition, construction and location of your tanks, through to bund compliance, your procedures for operation and filling and spill response. Along with inspection of your gauges, level alarms and fire valves, we’ve got you covered.
  • Certification: Should you pass your inspection, you’ll receive an OFTEC certificate which is valid for 5 years. Please note that OFTEC inspections should still be carried out annually, and regular servicing and maintenance completed as swiftly as possible.
  • Avoids Nasty Surprises: Should you not comply with regulations, you may be subject to reputation-damaging court cases, expensive fines and the costs associated with production loss and clean ups, not to mention prison sentences. By being forward-thinking and putting measures in place to prevent oil spills, such as regular OFTEC inspections, then you avoid any nasty surprises in your future.
  • Peace Of Mind: They’ll be no confusion or concern with, and following, an OFTEC inspection from Dale Power Solutions. You’ll know what you need to do to be compliant, and to keep the environment safe, and should you fail, what the consequences will be.

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What is an OFTEC inspection?

OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association) is the industry body that governs the assessment and certification of fuel storage and associated pipework.

An OFTEC Inspection concerning the fuel tank is an assessment of the tank and pipework ensuring the health and safety of individuals and the environment. By carrying out such an inspection by a qualified engineer you are minimising the risks and associated penalties.

How often do I need an OFTEC inspection?

OFTEC inspections should be carried out annually and we suggest timing the inspection with regular servicing or maintenance as this can save your company money against multiple call outs. Upon a pass the OFTEC certificate is valid for 5 years.

Who carries out the OFTEC inspection?

Only competent OFTEC registered engineers/technicians conduct inspections at Dale Power Solutions.

What are the penalties I can face for not having an OFTEC inspection?

Severe actions can be taken against companies that have not complied to regulations including fines, associated costs of production loss and cleaning and imprisonment. These are based on several factors concerning the overall damage of the spill, number of litres spilt and the duration it took place and of course the direct and indirect impact on the environment. Records have seen fines reach in the region of c£8M in recent years.

My oil tank looks fine to me. Why should I get it inspected?

We have no doubt of your trained eye, but an OFTEC inspection provides assurance that your tank is fine, and can function properly. When exposed to the elements, steel pipes can rust, and plastic becomes brittle. Similarly, poor installation can put large amounts of pressure on the tank, leading to leaks and pollution. Having your oil tanks inspected will considerably reduce any risk, and leave you less liable should an issue occur.

How long does an OFTEC Inspection take?

Depending on the size and complexity of your site, as well as the number of tanks, the inspection should take 2-3 days to complete. Upon completion, a bound and electronic copy of the report will be given you, and recommendations made about what to do going forward.

I need to update my oil storage tank base. What should I do?

To comply with British Standards, the base material should be either:

  • Concrete at least 100mm thick.
  • Paving stones at least 50mm thick.
  • Stonework at least 50mm thick.

The overall size of the base should be larger than the oil storage tank and any integral oil storage tank bund, so that when the oil storage tank is installed, the base has a clear projection of a minimum of 300mm around all sides of the oil storage tank.

What can I do to protect my tank from oil theft?

There are lots of things you can do to prevent oil theft, such as:

  1. Check the fuel levels regularly to make sure that none has gone missing.
  2. Lock the tank. Most tanks can be locked at the inspection cover or a lockable filler cap can be retro fitted to existing oil tanks.
  3. Install automatic movement sensor security lighting around the tank.
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OFTEC Inspections are the ultimate in tank protection, ensuring health and safety, industry compliance and environmental protection. We’ve carried out OFTEC Inspections across the UK, so if you’re located in sites such as York, Scarborough, Liverpool or Glasgow, we know we can help. Contact us today on 0330 999 3000 to find out more.

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