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Oil Separators

Oil/Water Separators, including full retention and bypass separators, treat surface water run-offs to remove hydrocarbons before dispersal in the environment.

Fuel/Oil Separators are used in petrol station forecourts, major car parks and haulier’s yards.  Fuel/Oil Separators broadly fall into two categories.  Bypass Separators are used in ‘low risk’ environments where there is no requirement to provide full treatment for all storm events.  Full Retention Separators are used where there is a ‘high risk’ of a significant fuel spillage for most storm events.

The law surrounding Fuel/Oil Separators is quite simple – British businesses have an obligation not to pollute – the guidance on what is required is less than simple.  In 2006, Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs) were introduced by the Government which provided ‘best practice guidance’ on how to avoid pollution.  PPG3 was intended to give guidance on the law surrounding the specification and servicing requirements for fuel/oil separators.  In 2015, the Environment Agency withdrew all PPGs, including PPG3, and said that the ‘Environment Agency does not provide ‘good practice’ guidance.  Instead, new legal guidance [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pollution-prevention-for-businesses]  (which applies to England only) was published on 12th July 2016.

WCI recommend fuel/oil separator installation for all forecourts, large carparks and any area where regular vehicle traffic could represent a risk of spillage reaching the environment.  This includes loading areas, motor vehicle servicing areas and large dealerships.