Home :: PPG8 - Safe Storage and Disposal of Used Oils

PPG8 - Safe Storage and Disposal of Used Oils

Oil is a highly visible form of pollution. It harms plants and animals, damages rivers, groundwaters and the soil, and can destroy natural habitats and drinking water supplies. It is the most commonly reported type of water pollution and causes over 16% of all pollution incidents annually.

Careless disposal of oil into drainage systems, onto land or to watercourses or groundwaters is an offence, and the person responsible may be prosecuted and fined if found guilty. Because of the way it spreads, even a small quantity of oil can cause a lot of harm, 10 litres of oil can completely cover the surface of a one-hectare lake.

Cleaning up oil pollution can be expensive and the Agencies have the power to recover the cost from the polluter. Used oil may have other hazardous properties; for example, used engine oil is classified as carcinogenic and should be handled and stored with care. Yet, with proper procedures and good practice many of the oil pollution incidents can easily be avoided.

Do not tip oil into any drains or onto land as this will result in the pollution of rivers and groundwater or cause land contamination. Do not burn waste oil on a bonfire as this pollutes the air.

Section 6 - Dealing with Spills states:

Immediate action
If you store or use any oil, you should consider the risks of a spillage and prepare a Pollution Response Emergency Plan (see GPP21; Reference 10). Keep a stock of absorbent materials (e.g. sand, earth or commercial products) on site to deal with spillages and train staff in their use.

If there is a spill, immediate action should be taken to contain the oil to prevent it entering any drains, watercourses, unmade ground or porous surfaces.

If it is leaking from an open valve or damaged pipework try to prevent any further spill by closing valves or taps. Absorbent booms, pads, granules and drain mats should be available in your spill kit.

Notify the Agencies by calling the Emergency Hotline on 0800 80 70 60, In Wales: Emergency hotline: 0300 065 3000.

Do not hose the spillage down or use any detergents.

Used oil absorbents
Where absorbents, (e.g. sand, oil pads or booms) have been used to absorb a leak or contain a spill, the contaminated waste absorbent is likely to be classified as hazardous waste. It may also be special waste if it has been used to absorb an oil that is itself classified as special.  You must dispose of these wastes, or have a waste contractor dispose of them, at a suitably authorised waste management facility.

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