Is your refuelling point environmentally friendly?

Tue, June 11, 2013 - 1:17:00

With an increasing focus on environmental issues, from both government and lobbying bodies, oil spills and fuel pollution are a common topic 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.

Is your refuelling point environmentally friendly? Here are a few pointers to help you limit the impact that your fuel tank and dispensing equipment has on the environment.

The Oil Storage Regulations, related to new domestic and 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 of over 200 litres; a secondary containment must exist around the tank, totalling at least 110% of the tank’s full capacity. This is to ensure that should a leak occur, rather than polluting the ground around the tank, the fuel would be contained within the bund.

Fuel storage tanks and ancillary items are also governed by the Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPG 2) set by DEFRA. These guidelines cover the delivery of fuel to the tank, stating that if there is a remote filling point, overfill prevention such as an overfill prevention valve should be installed on the tank. Where there is an external fill point, an overfill prevention device is not required, but it is recommended that a drip tray is used to prevent ground pollution.

OFTEC regulations now also recommend that a visual or sounding overfill fuel tank alarm should be installed as standard on all new storage tanks. The fuel tank alarm would alert the user of a potential over-spill of fuel during delivery, and therefore act as a back-up should there be a problem with the installed overfill prevention valve.

According to the Pollution Prevention Guidelines, all tank ancillary items such as the hose and fuel nozzle should be kept securely within the bund, ensuring that no fuel residue leaks out. Consequently, many fuel transfer pump manufacturers have introduced secure cabinets and plated units, which keeps all of the dispensing equipment together neatly inside the tank.

It is also good environmental practice to have an automatic shut off nozzle installed in the pumping system. As the 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.

Should you require any further information, please refer to the DEFRA oil storage regulations.