One of the worst substances for causing lasting damage to property and possessions is oil. We tend to associate oil spills with slicks at sea, when tankers run aground or suffer collisions. The huge environmental impact of such accidents has a disastrous effect on the environment. It can take years to clean up and for the impact to be fully controlled and negated.
Oil is a refined natural resource that is also found in our own homes, most commonly in oil-fired central heating systems. The damage oil spills can do requires specialist treatment and expert intervention, to limit the extent to which it can cause problems. If the worst happens and an oil leak occurs, in a residential or industrial situation, we are able to provide a one-stop solution to the complex problems associated with oil spill remediation.
Heat and power
Oil-fuelled central heating is a common alternative to gas, electric or coal powered boilers and heaters. It’s often found in remote or rural areas, such as on farms or small villages, where the National Grid gas network hasn’t yet been installed. While gas is by far the most prevalent energy provider in the UK, there are still a surprising amount using oil – about 6% according to respondents in a 2020 Statista heating methods survey.
At properties which use oil as their power, oil tanks to store the fuel need to be installed on site – you often see them in gardens or hidden behind garages or in passages. The fuel needs to be monitored, as it requires topping up as the oil is used. On a much larger scale, oil is also used in power stations in the UK, to generate electricity.
When oil spills occurs, on whatever scale, measures need to be taken as soon as possible to control the extent of the damage. For example, leakage from a domestic heating oil tank requires the professional services of a company which can advise insurers and policy holders on what next steps need to be taken. The leak may have been happening for a while, but the owner might not have been aware of it – this often happens in external locations, where vegetation may be obscuring the view of the tank. Higher than normal fuel usage can sometimes be a sign that there’s an ongoing leak too.
Oil leaks can cause a variety of issues to the owners and the building. In some of the worst cases, it can result in harmful fumes and contaminated drinking water supplies, by permeating the ground and plastic water pipes, causing a foul taste and smell. It can also kill plants and vegetation, harm animals including pets, and damage brickwork and stone walls. Possessions can become soaked and stained by the substance too. If it is near a watercourse, the leak impact can be worsened to include sewage treatment, and streams and rivers can carry the pollutant further afield.
Our specialist technicians will attend on site and offer an appraisal on any initial health risks for those living or working in the building. At this stage, we will also clear the area of anything that might become damaged. The oil spill can of course affect neighbouring properties or premises too and they will also have to be informed. We can then assess the extent of the remediation work that will be required and in due course, the full cost of excavation and remediation. Depending on the extent to which the leakage has extended, we can also advise on the relevant legislation, which includes any potential Environmental Agency involvement in the process.
Whatever the size and location of your oil spill damage, we offer a complete solution to your treatment and clean-up needs. Get in touch to see how we can assist you.