Petroleum-based fuels and oils are part of our everyday lives. We use fossil fuels everyday to run our vehicles and to power our electric generators. Further, we use oils for heating and cooling purposes as well. However, these petroleum products are volatile substances and can be very dangerous if they are not looked after carefully. They should only be used for their intended use to avoid any potentially hazardous situations.
So it is essential to store and dispose of these fuels in a legal and safe way in order to ensure the safety of our family and for the environment. There are regulations set by government authorities for fuel oil storage and disposal of hydrocarbon oils and fuels, so be sure to find out what these are for your area. Here are some guidelines for handling common hydrocarbon fuels and oils in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner:
Petrol and diesel fuels are highly flammable and therefore are dangerous. It is important to take proper procedures when handling or storing them. If gasoline comes in direct contact with your skin, wash with soapy water immediately to avoid any skin irritation. Do not smoke or light a match until you are sure that all the gasoline has been removed. Since it evaporates easily and is highly inflammable, you must refrain from fooling around with it. You should only use petrol to its intended purpose, which is as a motor fuel. Never use it in any kerosene heaters or lamps and never mix it with diesel.
Always keep petrol stored at room temperature and away from all heat sources, including the sun or a water heater. Ensure that the tank lid is tightly sealed to avoid spillages. Since you can only fill up a container of 20 litres or less and it must be in an approved fuel can or tank. Make sure you leave some room in the container to allow for expansion. The best place to store it is in a detached shed or garage and it should be at least 50 feet away from any ignition sources. In contrast, storing diesel fuel is much easy just by keeping it cool and dry. Under ideal conditions, diesel can be stored up to 12 months.
It is important to dispose of petrol or diesel in the correct and legal way. Never pour the fuel down the toilet, onto any land or down a drain. It is highly damaging to the environment, can kill animals, create a fire risk and contaminate water sources. You can also incur hefty fines if you are caught. There are fuel disposal centres for old or contaminated gasoline and this is the best place to take any that you cannot re-use.
There are many different types of oil that are used for various purposes. However, they all have one thing in common; they are all harmful to the environment. Some such as used engine oils, can cause cancer if they are spilled into water sources, so it is extremely important to store and dispose of it safely.
It is essential to ensure any oil storage is robust and safe so that your oil is less likely to cause any pollution. Bunded oil tanks are the safest way to store oil and are designed for storing large quantities for heating or domestic use. Oil should always be stored in secure areas with safety precautions like a lock and key and tamper-proof containers that are safe from flood risk. Your storage must always meet minimum legal requirements.
Most types of engine or vehicle oil should be disposed of at an oil bank for recycling. Oil banks can be found at most civic amenity sites. Never mix the oil with other substances such as paint, solvents or white spirit as this makes recycling extremely difficult.