Frequently asked questions — oil tanks

On this page you can find the answers to our most frequently asked questions about oil storage tanks.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, don’t forget you can also get in touch.

Oil storage tanks

What type of tanks are available?

Harlequin can offer a full range of Harlequin ITE bunded tanks, these include Slimline tanks for space saving, Low profile (low to the ground), or Larger Capacity circular or rectangular tanks.

What is a bund?

A bund is a secondary containment to prevent fuel loss from the tank escaping to the environment and must be able to hold at least 110% of the tank’s contents in the event that a leak or overspill occurs. All Harlequin ITE tanks are integrally bunded.

Will I need a bunded tank?

Building Regulations for England and Wales requires all domestic oil storage tanks exceeding 2500 litres capacity must be bunded. For England and Scotland for tanks under 2500 litres a site pollution risk assessment would establish if bunding is required. In Wales all tanks must be bunded; requirement will be defined by proximity to controlled water. It is always good practice to have a bunded tank. The heating oil club can arrange a no cost, no obligation survey and quotation.

What is controlled water?

Controlled Waters would be: rivers, streams, lakes, canals, coastal waters, estuaries and groundwater. For an oil tank pollution risk assessment, any ditches, soakaway, septic tanks and gullies which could pollute groundwater or reach controlled waters would be included along with Environment Agency special protection zones.

What base should my oil tank have?

A base should be: concrete of at least 100mm thickness, paving stones of at least 42mm thickness or stonework of at least 42mm thickness (all laid on a hardcore base to give an imperforate base). The overall size of the base should be larger than the oil storage tank and any integral oil storage tank bund, so that when the oil storage tank is installed, the base has a clear projection of a minimum of 300mm around all sides of the oil storage tank. Harlequin ITE tanks are designed to maximise storage and minimise the base required.

Why do I need 300mm extra base around the tank?

This is to provide fire protection; it will prevent the tank from becoming overgrown and will help protect against fire spreading across the ground to the tank from another source in the event of a fire.

Can I hide or screen my tank?

Screening of domestic oil storage tanks is allowed. Access will be required for maintenance and filling and this needs to be considered when erecting and screening. British Standard 5410: Part 1: 1997 requires that a minimum of 600mm separation be provided between a tank and screening. If the screening forms part of the property boundary a 760mm separation should be provided unless a fire barrier is erected.

Can a domestic oil storage tank be installed underground?

Yes, Harlequin manufacturer a range of underground tanks, and we can advise of the installation of these.

Can a domestic oil storage tank be installed inside a building?

Yes it can, British Standard 5410: Part 1: 1997 does allow a domestic oil storage tank up to 3500 litres capacity to be installed within a building so long as the tank is provided with secondary containment, such as an integrally bunded Harlequin ITE oil storage tank. The tanks must contained within a 60 minute fire resistant chamber and placed at the lowest possible level. The chamber should only contain the tank and be ventilated to outside. This type of installation will often have a remote fill pipe.

What is a remote fill pipe?

Remote fill pipes are typically used when oil storage tanks are sited more than 30m from a road, or where access is difficult to the tank. For domestic installations this would normally be a 50mm steel pipe connected to the tank and piped to an accessible position. The pipe will have a screw cap at the fill point, a gate valve, a non-return valve and be supported. With an increased risk of spillage during filling process, the tank should have secondary containment, such as an integrally bunded Harlequin ITE oil storage tank with an overfill prevention device.

What warranty would my new Harlequin tank have?

All Harlequin ITE bunded tanks carry a standard 5 year warranty. This is automatically extended to 10 years when fitted by a Tankmark installer, or other OFTEC approved installer, and registered.

What is a Tankmark installer and what can they do for me?

Every Tankmark Installer through The heating oil club:

  • Will ensure your new oil storage installation is compliant with all prevailing statutory requirements including Agricultural Fuel Oil Storage Regulations, Building Regulations and Environmental Regulations.
  • Will undertake a free Site Survey, Risk Assessment and provide a free written, no obligation quotation.
  • Can guide you through Oil Storage Regulations in ‘plain English’ and explain the requirements with which you must comply.
  • Is fully insured to complete the work they undertake at your premises.
  • Can provide a complete tank installation and replacement service, including:
    • The completion of an on-site Risk Assessment
    • Transferring fuel from your existing tank to your new tank
    • Undertaking any civil work that may be required, including the construction of a suitable base and where required, the installation of adequate fire protection
    • Recommissioning your oil storage installation after your new tank has been installed
    • Arrange for the removal and environmentally responsible disposal of any existing tank
  • Is registered with The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) or a comparable competent persons’ scheme — the training, standards and registration agency for the oil heating and fuel storage industry.
  • Is deemed competent in the installation of Harlequin tanks and has access to one the largest ranges of Biodiesel, Diesel, Heating Oil, Waste Oil and Water Storage Tanks available from any European manufacturer.
  • Can legally remove your existing oil storage tank and arrange for its environmentally responsible disposal.

What if I have any concerns or question before after or during the installation?

You can talk to Harlequin or The heating oil club at anytime for advice, should you have any concerns all work undertaken by Tankmark installers is covered by Harlequin and any concerns can be handled by Harlequin directly.

Who are Harlequin?

Established in 1981, Harlequin has pioneered the development of environmentally preferred storage solutions in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Today’s Harlequin range consists of tanks for the storage of Agricultural Fuel Oil, Biodiesel, Heating Oil, Kerosene, Non Potable Water, Potable Water, Waste Oils and Lubricants. A range of capacities is available from c.920 litres to over 10,000 litres. And with a choice of over 200 different models, whatever and wherever the installation, there is sure to be a Harlequin to suit.

Operating from purpose built production and distribution facilities in the heart of Northern Ireland, Harlequin services a diverse and demanding customer base throughout the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Iceland and Slovakia.

As a business, Harlequin differentiates itself through the provision of products and services that exceed the highest expectations of our customers. Harlequin was the first plastic tank manufacturer in the United Kingdom to achieve BS5750 Quality Management accreditation. And today, all products are manufactured in a UKAS accredited ISO9001:2000, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 approved production environment and have been engineered to exceed the toughest environmental, statutory and technical requirements.

As a leading member of OFTEC - The Oil Firing Technical Association and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers, Harlequin takes its obligations to the industries and communities in which it trades seriously. Working in partnership with other industry stakeholders, the company has long championed the requirement for better, more effective, regulation and improved product and installation standards. As well as working to ensure compliance with the manufacturing requirements of OFTEC’s OFS T100 Standard – the only independently recognised standard for rotationally moulded single skin and bunded plastic oil tanks in the EU – Harlequin also works to ensure compliance with local product standards in key overseas markets.