Verde Environmental Consultants & Oil Leak Clean Up Specialists Manage the Risk of an Oil Spill Incident | Verde - Complete Environmental Solutions
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Manage the Risk of an Oil Spill Incident

Step 1: Identify the Risk

Risks may arise from many sources, such as:

  • Oil delivery tankers.
  • Unsuitable filling points.
  • Overfill of tanks.
  • Absence of bunding for oil storage tanks.
  • Damage, corrosion and wear and tear on pipework and metal oil tanks.
  • Poor fitting connections between the oil feed and the oil burner.
  • Malicious damage by a third party in the act of theft of oil.
  • Infrequent inspection and maintenance.

Step 2: Assess the Risks

Based on the hazards and risks identified, consideration should be given to the likelihood of the risks arising and to the consequence for human health, buildings and the environment if the risks materialise.

The likelihood of a risk occurring can be categorised as very high, high, medium, or low.  The impact and consequences of the risk may be categorised as severe, major, moderate, or minor.


The likelihood of an oil spill and or oil pollution incident should not be underestimated when taking into account the actions of oil suppliers to your site, the age of oil storage tanks and the age of pipework and tanks which are subject to corrosion and damage, as well as the absence of bunding around oil tanks, the increased likelihood of theft, and the absence of inspections and maintenance.


When assessing the impact of an oil spillage and / or oil pollution incident, consideration should be given to the impact on:

Your own and third-party building structures and services, such as:

– Direct Impact

  • Dissolving plastic or resin-based damp proof courses and membranes.
  • Dissolving polystyrene-based floor and cavity insulation.
  • Dissolving bitumen membranes.
  • Dissolving tarmac and asphalt.
  • Penetrating water supply pipes.

– Indirect Impact

Impregnating block work, concrete, plaster board, fixtures and fittings, soft furnishings, etc., which in turn act as a source of vapours to internal areas.

Your own and third-party land which can occur as a result of the migration of liquid contaminants through soils, groundwater and surface water, or migration of vapours through soils or preferential pathways, such as underground services.

Business Continuity, as lengthy closure of an organisation/other building/service could disrupt activities, including meeting legislative requirements to provide public services.

Human health, the receptors that could be at risk of exposure to contaminants include:

  • Occupants of an existing development or future occupants of any planned development
  • Occupants of neighbouring land and developments.
  • The general public, where they have access to an unsecured site.
  • Workers on the site, including those involved in preliminary walkover surveys.
  • A pollution incident could cause anxiety among employees, contractors, citizens, students, parents, etc. in respect of adverse impacts on health and well being.

Finances with extremely expensive clean-up costs and loss of expensive fuel.

The organisation’s reputation with civil and criminal legal action against an organisation and individual employees.

Step 3: Manage the risks

Terminate – remove the oil source if possible.

Treat – identify required management controls and implement them i.e. policy procedures, guidelines, inspection regime to include annual pressure testing of pipework so as to detect any leaks arising from damaged pipework, audit for compliance with policy, training, anti-theft devices, alarms, provision of bunding, provision of oil spillage clean up equipment, etc.

Transfer – consider if the risk could be transferred to a third party or purchasing special insurance, such as Environmental Impact Liability cover.

Tolerate – this is not an option for some risks and should not be considered an option in respect of oil spillages and contamination, as the focus should be on prevention and, where an oil spill occurs, on ensuring that it is managed as early as possible so as to prevent or limit damage.