DEALING WITH HOME HEATING OIL LEAKS AND SPILLS
Home heating oil leaks can happen suddenly or over a long period of time. Domestic heating oil leaks are most commonly found coming from the tank, the valves, or the supply line. Since most home heating oil tanks are located in the garden, yard, or other outdoor areas, the potential for damage to the environment can be great if a leak or spill should occur.
If you discover that your oil tank has incurred a leak or a spill, it is vital that you deal with it properly and immediately to avoid damage to the environment. We at HeatingOilApp.com have compiled a list of helpful suggestions and steps to take if you detect a leak or spill:
- Shut off the stop tap at the source to prevent any further flow.
- Help prevent the spill from contaminating nearby buildings, ground water (such as drains or rivers), or soaking directly into the ground by using sand or soil to absorb the oil. You can purchase special oil spill kits that include drain blockers, leak sealing putty, and sorbent materials to help manage leaks and spills. It’s a good idea to have one of these on hand before a leak or spill occurs, so that you can treat the problem in a timely manner. The longer you wait to clean it up, the more damage will be done.
- Estimate how much oil has been lost by checking the level on the tank, considering your usage, and checking your records to see when you last had a delivery. This information will help the various agencies and contractors you need to speak to.
- Call the Environmental Protection Agency to get official advice.
- If oil has entered a nearby building and resulted in fumes or contamination of the drinking water, contact your local health department. They will guide you on what your next steps should be.
- If the leak is the coming from a broken seal on a plastic tank, you may be able to temporarily repair the seal by rubbing some soap into the area that has broken. Keep in mind, this is only a short-term fix and may not work in all situations.
- Do not attempt to wash away the leak with detergent or water, since this can make the problem worse and could cause the oil to enter nearby ground water.
- Contact a local heating oil company to remove the remainder of your oil until you can have the leak repaired. This will prevent more oil from being wasted and from contaminating nearby areas.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the leak and get advice on what is covered in this type of situation. Be aware that they won’t insure tanks or pipes that have not been maintained properly or are in bad condition.
- Make sure any permanent repairs are made by a registered engineer.
- Once the leak has been repaired, you can schedule a new delivery to refill your tank.