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Disused petrol storage tanks

We are the petroleum enforcement authority for the storage of petroleum spirit. You must give us at least 28 days notice in writing before you stop storing petrol or use your petrol storage tanks for another purpose. You also need to immediately make sure that the tanks are safe from fire and explosion.

If you have a tank on your property which has previously been used to store petrol, you must do all you can to make sure that the tank is not dangerous. This is a requirement of the Public Health Act, section 73. We are entitled to check the tanks so that we can be sure that they have been made safe, and take action in any cases where we feel there is a potential problem.

Temporary discontinuation

If you want to temporarily discontinue storage, you can empty the tank completely of all petrol and any residue, and fill it completely with water, diesel or hydrophobic foam. This is acceptable for up to one year, provided that we have agreed to this.

You must follow the procedure set out in the APEA/IP Guidance for the Design, Construction, Modification and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations.

Permanent discontinuation

If a tank is no longer used for the storage of petrol, we need it to be rendered safe by:

  • its safe removal to a safe place
  • being filled with a 20:1 sand/cement slurry
  • being used for the storage of some other liquid, e.g. waste oil, diesel fuel etc, after being suitably cleared of petrol residues by an experienced competent person - this method does not, of course, apply to a tank which is unsound
  • being filled with urea amino plastic (hydrophobic) foam with a design strength of 22 tonnes per square metre

Please note that any petrol pump and pipe-lines to the tank could be a danger from retained spirit and/or vapours and they also need to be washed out.

To do this you should follow the procedures set out in the APEA/IP Guidance for the Design, Construction, Modification and Maintenance of Petrol Filling Stations.

Disused petrol storage tanks contain petroleum vapour and during the above operations, you should take precautions to prevent an explosion by ensuring that no naked light, fire, flame or smoking is permitted within 4.25 metres of any opening to the tank.

Change of product 

The procedure for the change of use of an underground storage tank differs depending on the product it is going to store.

Local authority notification

The licensee/owner/occupier will be required to arrange with a competent person for the works to be carried out.

We will require notification of the following:

  • name and address of the competent person/company carrying out the decommissioning
  • at least seven days notice of the date and intended time of the decommissioning
  • a copy of the issued certificate/completion statement

Contact us

Contact Dorset Trading Standards.

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