Fuel Storage & Blending

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Containment Requirements Compliant With The Buncefield Recommendations:

Following the incident on Sunday 11th December 2005 at the Buncefield Oil Storage Terminal, in Hemel Hempstead the site was closed and the Health and Safety Executive in conjunction with Environment Agency, conducted a joint investigation. Following the conclusion of this investigation, a number of recommendations were made and a new Containment Policy, relating to the Containment of Bulk Hazardous Liquids at COMAH establishments, was issued in April 2008. This policy has now been issued by the Authorities and is designed to establish a consistent approach to the containment of Bulk Hazardous Materials and to act as the basis for enforcement action. In particular the policy identifies key features required to provide adequate secondary and tertiary containment in the event of a loss of primary containment.

Key Secondary Containment Policy Requirements:

The policy applies to sites regulations which store hazardous liquids in bulk. The expectation for most newly built bunds will be that they will be of concrete construction. However, for existing sites with earth/clay floor bunds (as found at many industrial fuel storage terminals in the UK), it may be impossible to retrofit fully concrete bunds. In all cases, the operators are required to undertake an environmental risk assessment to demonstrate that the potential consequence from a major accident to the environmental is as low as reasonably practical.

The fuel storage sector in particular has a high potential for events which could cause a significant environmental impact, and any establishment which has potential to cause a major accident to the environment is required to implement all Containment Policy Control Measures necessary for preventing and mitigating the effects. The failure of secondary and tertiary containment at Buncefield in 2005 contributed significantly to the failure to prevent a major accident involving the environment. Although such incidents are rare , they are devastating in both human and financial cost.

Key Elements Of The Secondary Containment Policy Control Measures Include (But Are Not Limited To):

  • Above Ground Storage Tanks shall be bunded to provide secondary containment
  • Bunds should be impermeable
  • Bunds should have adequate corrosion resistance, strength and durability
  • Bunds should have sufficient capacity to allow for tank failure and firewater management – normally the greater of 110% of the largest tank or 25% of all tanks within the bund
  • Bunds should have no pipe work that penetrates through the bund floor
  • Bunds should be subject to periodic inspection and certification by a competent person.

Why PM Group?

PM Group have extensive experience of ensuring compliance with Key Containment Policy requirements, particularly through upgrade works at existing sites. These works include the demolition of failed storage tanks and replacement with new tanks, installation of road tanker loading facilities, provision of blending facilities, improvement of control systems and improvements to secondary containment bunds. The bund improvements made by PM Group have included the replacement of the earth bund walls with walls of a concrete construction, new floors to include an impermeable membrane liner plus layers of protective geotextile material and basalt rock gravel.

The PM Group design has been subjected to independent tests which prove their compliance with the Containment Policy, particularly with respect to bund integrity and resistance to fire. The liner utilised in PM Group’s design has been successfully used all over the world on similar installations. It is PM Group’s use of a geotextile liner, bitsand mix and the use of basalt rock gravel which combine to limit the amount of oxygen available to the vaporising fuel. The fuel only ignites once it has reached the surface of the stone, thus providing the necessary time for the fire services to act, should an incident occur.

What PM Group Offer:

PM Group has direct experience in the practical interpretation and implementation of the recommendations from both the Buncefield Enquiry and the Environment Agency Containment Report. Independent tests have proven the design and construction methods used by PM Group in the upgrading of fuel terminals will satisfy the essential requirements as detailed in both reports.

If you think your business could benefit from our Fuel Storage and Secondary Containment services, please contact one of our experts on +44 1928 752500 or complete our online enquiry form.