How to make a refuelling point environmentally friendly?
Tue, April 20, 2021 - 1:17:00
With an increasing focus on environmental issues from both government and lobbying bodies, oil spills and fuel pollution are common topics facing our industry. These issues have been subject to much debate, which has led to a number of guidelines and recommendations regarding fuel storage and the dispensing of fuel. Although tank suppliers and engineers are fully aware of all regulations changes and their equipment account for this, the real problem lies after the fuel tank has been installed. Fuel tank owners can make changes to their onsite tanks and fail to replace equipment that keeps their tanks environmentally friendly. Do your customers have an environmentally friendly refuelling point?
Storage tank regulations
The Oil Storage Regulations for business related to commercial installations were introduced to limit pollution caused by inadequate fuel storage in above-ground tanks. The main aspect of these regulations is the bunding of fuel storage tank; a secondary containment must exist around the tank, totalling at least 110% of the tank’s full capacity. This ensures that should a leak occur, rather than polluting the ground around the tank, the fuel would be contained within the bund.
However, corrosion, wear, and rust can all compromise the structure of the tank walls, which can eventually mean fuel leaking out and creating an environmental disaster. To prevent any leakages in the first place, fuel tanks checks are recommended to help spot any changes quickly that can be solved with light maintenance before serious issues arise. Tank owners also need to make sure no leaks are coming from the hose, pump or the connecting pipework, as this can c result in costly cleaning of the oil spill.
What fuel tank equipment can prevent environmental disaster?
The government governs fuel storage tanks and ancillary items in conjunction with DEFRA and the Environment Agency. These guidelines cover fuel delivery to the tank, safe storage, positioning the storage tank and ongoing prevention of environmental risk such as leakage, theft and overfill prevention. Following these guidelines is essential as it helps avoid penalty fees and protects the refuelling point by making it more environmentally friendly. Here are a few must-have products that we can offer to prevent environmental disasters and make the refuelling point compliant with the regulations.
If there is a remote filling point, overfill prevention such as an overfill prevention valve or fuel tank alarm should be installed on the tank. When receiving a fuel delivery, an OPV shuts off when the storage tank is full, and an alarm gives a signal to alert when the tank is full, preventing the tank from being overfilled and fuel from being spilt out of the tank, creating an environmental risk. However, if the tank owner has both an overfill prevention valve or alarm, the alarm can be a backup if there is a problem with the installed overfill prevention valve. Where there is an external fill point, it is recommended that a drip tray is used to prevent ground pollution.
The oil storage regulations for business recommend that any tanks over 201litres must have a secondary containment e.g. a bund that holds at least 110% of the tank's capacity. In the event of an inner tank rupturing, the tank bud will prevent leaking/pollution. The installation of a bund alarm can be used to alert the tank owner when fluid is being detected between the inner tank and the outer bund to secure the tank further. This can help determine any inner tank leakage that needs to be dealt with immediately.
Secure cabinets and plated units
According to the regulations, all tank ancillary items such as the hose and fuel nozzle should be kept securely within the bund with a drip tray if mounted outside, ensuring that no fuel residue leaks out. Consequently, many fuel transfer pump manufacturers have introduced secure cabinets and plated units such as Piusi Cube, and Piusi pump mounted kits that have been developed so that they can easily mount all equipment together neatly inside the tank.
Fill point cabinets
When refuelling a storage tank via a remote fill point, a fill point cabinet can be installed that locks away the fill point and has a drip tray to prevent any leaking out onto the ground. To help users limit the environmental risk of an oil spill and keep their fuel secured, we offer a fill point cabinet, which keeps all the refuelling equipment, including the alarm and the fuel gauge, locked securely.
It is also good environmental practice to have an automatic shut off nozzle installed in the pumping system rather than a manual option. As the automatic fuel nozzle stops dispensing when the vehicle becomes full, it prevents an overflow from occurring and fuel from spilling out of the vehicle onto the ground. Distracted drivers in a hurry have been known to drive away from the pump without disconnecting the hose from the vehicle. Installing safety break off couplings such as Husky Reconnectable Safe-T-Break® Coupling can protect against fuel spillage and save expensive repairs of the refuelling point.
Wherever fuel is stored, there is a risk of an oil spill, and even if you hold as little as a drum of oil in your workshop, you are responsible for the clean-up. So when a fuel spillage has already occurred, a spill kit is a quick and simple solution to clean and prevent further environmental impact. It is best practice always to have an emergency spill kit on-site to stop the spill from spreading any further and running into neighbouring land or drains, resulting in an even bigger environmental disaster.
Should you require any further information, please refer to the oil storage regulations for businesses.