Check Your Oil Tanks - Plastic or Metal

Had an emergency in the village today. External oil tank “sprang a leak” with 1800 litres of heating fuel gently leaking into the garden. The owner phoned me for help and my response (as nearly always) let’s contact the Pompiers. (actually I phoned the Maire first, to advise him)

Cannot fault anyone’s response. We had all sorts of machines/equipment arrive. Local Brigade as well as Perigueux (Pollution & Environment “big boys”). The Maire and the two Cantonniers turned up to help as well.

Despite the sweltering heat, they all worked tirelessly to minimise any pollution to the underground waters. The whole thing was fascinating to watch.

Four and a half hours later - and the situation is finally stable.

Advice from the Pompiers. Folk should check their tanks for signs of wear/stress etc. In any signs - get it changed immediately.

Do they not have to be bunded?

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No talk of that today, Vero, not a word - so things must have been in order.

I did mention the forum and that perhaps I should suggest folk check their tanks. They reckoned that was a great idea - et voilà

Unless the tank is double skinned (effectively one tank inside another), indeed they do need a secondary containment capable of holding 100% of the contents of the largest or only tank, or 50% of the contents of the total capacity of all the tanks if there is more than one tank.

En plein air
En extérieur, la cuve à fioul de votre chaudière doit être opaque et munie obligatoirement d’une seconde enveloppe, ou installée dans une cuvette de rétention métallisée ou maçonnée.
La capacité de cette cuvette étanche aux hydrocarbures doit au minimum être égale à la plus grande des valeurs suivantes : 100 % de la capacité du plus grand réservoir, 50 % de la capacité totale des réservoirs.
Il est interdit d’entreposer des matières inflammables à moins d’un mètre du réservoir.
Toutes les canalisations d’eau, d’électricité, de gaz ne doivent en aucun cas passer sous l’installation. Seules les canalisations utiles au stockage du fioul sont tolérées.
Si la cuve a une capacité supérieure à 15 000 litres, elle doit être entourée d’une clôture de 1,75 m de hauteur.

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Thanks for explaining why I’ve got two oil tanks side-by-side. Did wonder why previous owners installed two tanks and only ever filled one…

Please everyone - check your tanks - Yes, the second wall is there to retain a leak from the inner wall. However, it may not be obvious that anything is wrong with the tank, until the second wall “gives way”. :zipper_mouth_face:

This thread is here merely to make folk check and consider their situation.

Oil tanks side by side - surely that is to allow the stockage of a large quantity of fuel - and to benefit from the cheaper bulk-buying. :thinking:

Perhaps, in the event, the previous owners never felt the need to buy so much.

What is the capacity of the tanks ?

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They’re both 1000L. As our place was a holiday home for 15-odd yrs before we bought it, heating - and therefore oil - was never much of an issue. I’ve had just one modest 300L delivery, which seems to be lasting a long time now the heating’s off.

I’d thought after reading the OP the idea behind two tanks was easy/quick transfer if one sprung a leak…maybe the idea behind the original 2-tank installation was either to keep within the law, and/or to bulk buy.

We have 2 x 1000L tanks and we need all that to see us through the winter snows etc. Also, the boiler does hot water - which we use throughout the year. (although we are taking cold showers at the moment).

Anyway, if you reread the link which Robert posted, you will see some of the Regulations.

…roughly saying 1 tank must be able to leak into another tank - does not mean side-by-side. It means one tank inside another - this can be achieved by double-skinned tanks. There are other options, but this is a common one.

Depending on your heating arrangements, you might well find you are grateful to have 1000L + during a cold winter.