Spill Containment Regulations

Why are Spill Containment regulations essential?

Spill containment regulations are an essential aspect of environmental safety and protection. In the UK, these regulations are put in place to ensure that companies and organisations take measures to prevent spills and, in case of an accident, contain and manage them properly. The UK spill containment regulations are designed to safeguard the environment, people’s health and safety, and prevent any financial losses that may result from spills.

The UK spill containment regulations apply to a range of industries, including manufacturing, transport, storage, and handling of hazardous materials, among others. These regulations are set out in various statutes and guidelines, including the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015, and the Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs).

The regulations require companies to take appropriate measures to prevent spills from occurring in the first place. This involves proper handling and storage of hazardous materials, regular maintenance of equipment and storage facilities, and providing training to employees to ensure they understand the risks and how to prevent spills. In addition, companies are required to have an emergency response plan in place, including spill response procedures, communication protocols, and personnel training.

If a spill occurs, the regulations require that the spill be contained and cleaned up as quickly and effectively as possible to prevent damage to the environment and the health and safety of people in the area. This involves having spill response equipment on hand, such as absorbent materials, booms, and spill kits, and ensuring that employees are trained in spill response procedures. The company must also report the spill to the relevant authorities and take steps to prevent future spills from occurring.

The UK spill containment regulations are necessary because spills can have significant environmental, health, and economic consequences. Spills can pollute waterways, contaminate soil, harm wildlife, and pose a risk to human health. They can also result in significant financial losses for companies, as they may be liable for damages and face legal and regulatory penalties. By implementing spill containment regulations, the UK government aims to minimize the risk of spills occurring and ensure that companies are prepared to respond quickly and effectively if they do.

What are the UK Spill Containment Regulations?

England

The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001

Oils covered by these regulations include petrol, diesel, vegetable, synthetic and mineral oils. They apply to most industrial, commercial and institutional sites storing oil in containers over 200ltr and to private dwellings with containers storing more than 3,500ltr. They do not apply to the storage of oil in a container which is situated in a building or wholly underground, this does not mean you don’t have to comply with other regulations such as COSHH and the Water Resources Act.

Scotland

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011

These regulations apply to any kind of oil including petrol, diesel, mineral oil, heating oil, lubricating oil, waste oil, vegetable and plant oil but don’t include uncut bitumen. They apply to the storage of any volume of oil, with more prescriptive requirements applying to industrial, commercial and institutional sites storing oil in containers of 200ltr and over stored both indoors and out and to private dwellings with containers storing more than 2,500ltr of oil.

Northern Ireland

The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

Oil is interpreted as any kind of oil including petrol, diesel, waste, vegetable and plant oil, but does not include uncut bitumen. The regulations apply to above ground oil storage facilities on industrial, commercial and institutional residential sites. They also extend to companies who refine or distribute oil. The regulations set minimum design standards for new and existing above ground oil storage facilities, codifying existing good practice to ensure that above ground oil storage facilities are adequately constructed. A key requirement of the regulations is for the storage container to have a secondary containment system (a bund, which is an outer wall or enclosure designed to contain the contents of an inner tank, or, a drip tray) to ensure that any leaking or spilt oil is contained and does not enter the aquatic environment.

Wales

The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations 2016

These regulations do not apply in a case where oil is stored in any container which has a storage capacity of 200 litres or less or which is situated wholly underground (unless the container is situated within a building). They set standards for oil storage facilities which aim to prevent the escape of oil and the resulting risk of water pollution and damage to land and property. The main requirement is for secondary containment, for example a bund or wall around the tank, to prevent any leaks from an oil storage facility escaping into the wider environment. These requirements apply to all oil storage facilities installed from 15 March 2016. The regulations include agricultural fuel oil storage facilities, which had been covered by the Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations 2010. This ensures a common standard applies to all oil storage in Wales, but removes an existing exemption for such facilities where they were in use before 1991.

Whether your business deals with a large or small volume of liquids onsite, our spill containment and spill control products are designed to help you stay compliant with the latest UK regulations and keep workers and your business premises safe.