If you have an external oil tank on your property, you will already be aware of the need to make sure storage of the liquid is as safe and secure as possible. However, if the worst possible scenario does happen, and there’s always a chance of that, you need to be aware of what to do, because time is definitely of the essence.

With any heating oil leak or spillages, even a minor one, an immediate clean-up needs to be performed. For major incidents, this needs to be treated as a potential emergency. The damage that can be caused by a tankful of oil is extensive, both to the land and property of those nearby and to the environment in the local area.

To prevent the spillage from becoming increasingly problematic, you should close off all valves at the first possible opportunity. If the leakage is caused by a hole, make sure you minimise the effects by stuffing rags into the aperture. The more effort you make to do this, the easier the subsequent clean-up operation will be.

Don’t try to deal with it alone!

You need to make contact with your chosen fuel supplier at the first opportunity, if only to gain the guidance you need to be able to deal with the situation. They may also offer a clean-up service which will enable specialists to get the job done properly and with as little fuss and upheaval as possible.

If you live in Britain, you should also call the UK Pollution Hotline for help and some much-needed guidance. Those property owners who live in environmentally-sensitive areas may require a speedy response before vegetation and drinking water supplies become irreparably damaged. Their 24-hour emergency number is 0800 80 70 60.

There are some products on the market which can help with the clean-up job, including an absorbent powder which is ideal for fresh discharges of oil. After the operation is complete, the resultant debris is suitable for disposal in a landfill site. You can also purchase a special fluid which is water-based and can be poured onto the spillage. It acts fast, and every tank owner should ensure they have a ready supply to hand.

From a financial point of view, a damaged oil tank can mean the loss of a large sum of money. Therefore, your insurance provider should be contacted as soon as possible. It would make sense to take photographs of the affected area in a bid to support any claim you make.