14 February 2008
The Environment Division, oil companies and boiler engineers have been working together to minimise the loss of oil and its damage to the environment, and an advisory notice has been produced to stick on oil tanks. It’s hoped this will reduce the number of pollution incidents in the island.
Around forty pollution incidents, involving 8,000 litres of lost oil, caused by leaking domestic oil tanks and pipes are attended by the Environment Division each year. Oil is extremely polluting and can result in long-term environmental damage and loss of drinking water. Much of the oil lost can be avoided by the public taking simple preventive measures.
The Environment Division’s new advisory notice contains clear messages on how to ‘stop oil pollution’ and ‘what to do if you see any oil around your tank’:
• regularly checking your oil tank and pipe work for damage and rust
• asking an OFTEC registered engineer to assess the condition of the tank and pipes during the annual service of the boiler
• replacing old tanks, or those in poor condition
• cleaning, emptying rain water, and ensuring the catch pit beneath the tank is watertight
• soaking up oil leaks using sand or rags and using soil dams to prevent oil entering drains or watercourses.
Acting on this information will help prevent pollution to controlled waters, which is an offence under the Water Pollution (Jersey) Law 2000. An oil tank notice displaying this information on newly installed oil tanks is a requirement of the Building Bye-laws (Jersey) 2007.
It is the tank owner’s responsibility to maintain their oil tank. If you suspect an oil leak, you should phone the 24-hour Pollution Hotline Number tel: 709535.
The Assistant Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Anne Pryke, said ‘Oil leaks are the most common pollutant to our rich aquatic environment. Owners of tanks can help minimise this by collecting a tank notice and following the advice. Within this context, ‘care of the environment’ directly means ‘care of your oil tank’ and everybody should do what they can to stop oil pollution’.
The tank notice is free and available from Parish Halls, main Library, Cyril Le Marquand House, States Greffe Book shop, Social Security, the oil companies and the Planning and Environment Department offices. If you have an oil tank, you’re asked to collect a notice and stick it on your tank. After two weeks, the oil companies when filling tanks will note those without tank notices and mail them out. This approach will ensure that all tanks in the Island have a tank notice.
You can get more advice on pollution prevention and the care of oil tanks by calling the pollution hotline number (tel: 709535).
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information, please contact Dr Tim du Feu, Head of Water Resources, Environment Division, States of Jersey. tel: 441691
Just over two out of five (average of 37 out of 90) of all pollution incidents reported each year to Environmental Protection involve leaking oil tanks and pipe work.
If oil enters streams or the sea, it can damage plants and wildlife and ruin habitats. Much of Jersey’s public water supply is from surface watercourses. Water polluted by oil cannot be used to fill reservoirs and may need to be diverted for many months, perhaps causing water scarcity in the Island.
One in ten households in Jersey use boreholes or wells for drinking water. Oil pollution may cause these to be condemned.
Oil pollution is difficult and expensive to remove and ecosystems and water supplies may take many months to recover.
It is a requirement of the Building Bye-laws (Jersey) 2007 that all newly installed oil storage tanks have affixed to them a notice on how to respond to an oil escape. Displaying an ‘Oil Care’ sticker with the Water Pollution Hotline Number and advice on what to do if an oil leak occurs will satisfy that requirement.
Causing or knowingly permitting pollution of controlled waters is an offence under the Water Pollution (Jersey) Law, 2000. There are, however, strong defences that may be available to persons acting in a responsible manner. For example, displaying the sticker on the oil tank and abiding by the advice given. Oil pollution leaflet
(pdf, size: 277Kb)Oil tank sticker