Oil is considered a hazardous substance within the meaning of EC Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. The environmental damage caused as a result of a pollution incident due to the release of oil can be significant and expensive to remedy. The most frequent polluting oil types are diesel, central heating oil, petrol and waste engine oil.
The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010, as amended by The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 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.
A Guidance Document for the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 provides background information on the Regulations.