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Heating oil leaks and spills

Information about household heating oil spills

Oil leaks

Oil is one of the most common causes of contamination. It can:

  • affect human health and property 
  • pollute water courses
  • damage plants and wildlife
  • make soil infertile

A number of pollution incidents are caused by faulty or badly maintained domestic central heating oil tanks. Leaked oil can be very difficult and expensive to clean up. Oil soaking into the ground can produce fumes and odours which can make people feel unwell.

What to do if there’s a leak

If there’s an oil leak:

  • try to find out where the leak is coming from, and stop further oil leaking as soon as possible
  • if your oil tank is leaking, call an engineer to fix the tank or pipe work quickly
  • report any taste or smell of oil in your drinking water to your water company. And don’t drink any water suspected to be contaminated until tests have been carried out
  • please contact us so we can ensure no land has been contaminated

You can find out further information, in our heating oil leak leaflet.

Oil spills

For an oil spill at home or elsewhere, please contact us for advice. Our phone number and email are at the bottom of the page. We can give some basic advice on how to deal with this.

Most type of spills will require a specialist company to contain, investigate and clean up the area. If the spill is at home, you may be able to claim on your household insurance to cover the costs involved.

You’ll also need to contact the Environment Agency as the spill could cause pollution to water or land or damage to the natural environment. Their incident hotline number is 0800 80 70 60. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website.