It’s better bunded……

Oil remains the premier choice for home heating in Ireland with 40% of homes in the Republic and 68% of homes in Northern Ireland using liquid fuel.

Storing home heating oil on-site provides added benefits over other fuel sources: ensuring your own supply, and refilling when needed and when market prices are lower. Modern plastic storage tanks are tough and resilient, however, many across the island are well over twenty years old and beyond the end of their intended design-life.

There is a clear need for technicians to advise consumers that their tank, like their boiler, will require upgrading as part of maintaining and future proofing their central heating system.

Nowadays, we are seeing a move towards the installation of bunded tanks as the norm. This is because legislation, throughout the whole of Ireland, requires a risk assessment to be carried out when placing a liquid fuel storage tank. If this assessment is carried out correctly, a bunded tank will be required in the majority of cases. Technicians are reporting that it is easier and less hassle installing a bunded tank in a new build or replacement situation and not having to worry about the possibility of a single skin tank giving trouble at a later date.

A constant threat

The risk of pollution is a constant threat, particularly to our water environment. The 2017 report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that river quality in Ireland continues to deteriorate and oil incidents are a contributing factor.

While domestic spills rarely make headlines, OFTEC insurance partner, Arachas, advises that the average cost of clearing up a domestic oil spill is €60,000, but can range from €400 (very minor spill) to €800,000 (extensive oil spill at a domestic property).

Arachas report that a large proportion of these incidents are the result of failures in the oil storage installations, usually due to poor support, inadequate work practices at time of installation and lack of inspection/servicing during the tank’s lifetime.

If we want consumers to continue using a liquid fuel in Ireland, we need to provide them with products that are efficient, environmentally friendly, give them extra protection from potential spills and avoid the potential for expensive clean-up costs.

The benefits of bunded tanks are clear:

  • they provide secure and safe liquid fuel storage
  • they are environmentally friendly
  • the extra wall provides further protection from fuel theft
  • they future proof customers’ overall heating installation

There is little doubt that oil, as a future heat source, is coming under pressure in Ireland. Other European countries have begun to legislate against oil as part of their carbon reduction strategies. Oil’s wider environmental credentials will also come under scrutiny and improvement to tank standards will strengthen our ability to demonstrate environmental responsibility.

OFTEC is making a concerted effort in 2019 and beyond to promote best practice in the liquid fuel storage sector. We plan to promote the clear benefits of bunding to consumers, technicians, merchants and insurance companies, to encourage a change of attitude and buying habit. As the benefits are fully understood, the market will be transformed. The environment will benefit from less pollution, and the industry will see benefits in terms of better installation standards and fewer warranty issues.

Look out for activities promoting ‘Better Bunded’ during the year and see how your business could benefit from the opportunities/rewards available for installers of bunded tanks.