Suffolk: Oil tank warning after leak

SUFFOLK: Residents are being warned to check their oil tanks after 1,000 litres of the fuel leaked into a county river.

The alarm was raised in Sibton near Saxmundham after an oily sheen was seen on the River Yox.

The problem was traced back to leaking oil tank pipe at a property in Pouy Street.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency (EA) said it put oil absorbent pads in the river to contain the leak. It said its prompt action meant the river suffered no adverse affects.

But it has prompted the agency to urge Suffolk householders to check tanks and pipework, especially with the current cold snap.

Andrew Raine, EA’s Suffolk team leader, said: “Pollution prevention is better than trying to deal with an accident, which can result in enforcement action against the owner of the tank in addition to the costs of cleaning up the spilt oil.

“People should regularly check heating oil tank levels to ensure that they haven’t suddenly dropped and the condition of the tank and pipe work for leaks”.

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Marcus Sibley, Suffolk environment manager for the EA, said the elderly resident at the centre of the November 13 leak would not be prosecuted.

He said: “It was an accident and she did the right thing by reporting it to us.

“We want to work with people to improve the environment.

“It was a fairly small incident which we contained quite quickly.

“Fortunately it did not go very far downstream so there won’t be any long term affects.”

The agency said nationally there are around 3,000 pollution incidents involving oil and fuel spills every year.

An EA spokeswoman said: “Oil is a highly visible pollutant that affects the water environment in a number of ways. It can reduce levels of dissolved oxygen and affect water abstracted for drinking. It damages plants and wildlife and can make soil

infertile, destroying habitats.

“Home owners and businesses who have any oil storage are also reminded to check their insurance as it may not cover loss of oil or pollution clean-up costs.

“Insurers should always be contacted immediately in the event of a spill or suspected spill.”

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