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Sub-Sectoral Environmental Guidelines

PETROLEUM STORAGE (including PETROL STATIONS)

PROCESS DESCRIPTION
Facilities involved in the storage of petroleum range from small to large-scale distribution terminals typically
occupying between 1 and 15 ha with a storage capacity in the 10,000 to > 100,000 m3 range, as well as petrol
filling stations which typically occupy less than 0.1 ha and with a storage capacity below 200 m3.
Petroleum distribution terminals commonly receive their products from the refinery by pipeline, although in some
cases road, rail or ship delivery may occur.
Bulk storage tanks (with capacities ranging from several hundred to several thousand cubic metres) receive the
products, which can include gasoline, naphtha, middle distillates (gas oil (diesel or heating oil), kerosene, aviation
fuels lighter fuel oils), heavy fuel and lubricating oil. The various products are often divided into white oils
consisting of gasoline and lighter spirits and the black oils consisting of heavier oils such as fuel oils. The
storage tanks are generally above ground, large cylindrical vessels usually set in bunded tank farms, although
some underground, semi-buried and mounded tanks may also be present. Tetramethyl lead, marker dyes and
various additives may also be stored on-site.
The various petroleum products are then transferred by pipeline from the bulk storage tanks to loading gantries via
the additives compound, where proprietary additives may be added. The loading gantries can either be bottom
loading stands or top loading stands in the case of heavier fuel oils. Road tankers are filled at these locations and
then distribute their products regionally. More modern terminals are equipped with systems which collect the
petroleum fumes generated during the filling of the tankers and transfer these via above-ground pipes to a Vapour
Recovery Unit.
Other activities at oil terminal sites include vehicle re-fuelling facilities, vehicle maintenance workshops, tanker
washing facilities and in some cases small sewage treatment units. For some petroleum products, drumming
operations may take place on-site, where the product is dispensed into containers of various sizes, e.g. for
lubricating oil, motor engine oil etc.
When the road tanker arrives at a petrol filling station it discharges its products into a series of underground
storage tanks. Typically, there are several of these corresponding to the type of fuel, e.g. leaded, unleaded,
premium, diesel. A typical capacity of tank may be in the 5 to 50 m3 range. Suction pipes then transfer the product
to the corresponding petrol or diesel pump as required.

SUMMARY OF KEY ENVIRONMENTAL RISK/LIABILITY FACTORS


Risk of major spills resulting in substantial liability claims or regulatory enforcement action (service stations
and terminals).
Contamination of soil and groundwater due to historical and/or present use of petroleum products (service
stations and terminals).
Fees and penalties (particularly effluent discharges).
Long-term the terminal may become non-compliant if regulatory environment becomes more stringent.
Run-off/stormwater drainage from storage areas on terminal.
Outstanding claims (health and safety).

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
The following are applicable to both terminals and filling stations.
Soil and groundwater contamination relating to petroleum products is extremely costly to remediate and
could be severely disruptive to site operations.
Upgrade of storage areas may be required.
Upgrade of pollution abatement equipment or site infrastructure (sewers, drainage, interceptors) may be
required.
Major fires and spills could be financially ruinous.

OTHER POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES


In this section medium/large petroleum storage facilities and service stations are considered separately.
Medium/Large Size Petroleum Storage Facilities
Key environmental issues associated with petroleum storage facilities such as oil terminals include the following:
storage and handling of petroleum products;
soil and groundwater contamination;
waste management;
atmospheric emission;
fire risks.
Storage and Handling of Petroleum Products
Large quantities of hazardous petroleum products, typically in the 104105 m3 range are stored in:
tank farms (multiple tanks);
single above-ground storage tanks (ASTs);
semi-underground, or underground storage tanks (USTs).
Smaller quantities of materials may be stored in drums and containers of assorted compounds (such as lubricating
oil, engine oil, other products for domestic supply).
Issues to consider:
Secondary containment of tanks and other storage areas (with adequate bunding etc.) and integrity of
hardstanding (without cracks, impervious surface) to prevent spills reaching the wider environment: also
secondary containment of pipelines where appropriate.
Licensing of storage facilities.
Age, construction details and testing programme of tanks.
Labelling and environmentally secure storage of drums (including waste storage).
Accident/fire precautions, emergency procedures.
Disposal/recycling of waste oils and other materials.

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

Soil and Groundwater Contamination


There is a potential for significant soil and groundwater contamination to have arisen at large petroleum storage
facilities. Such contamination consists of:
petroleum hydrocarbons including:
lighter, very mobile fractions (paraffins, cycloparaffins and volatile aromatics such as benzene, toluene,
ethylbenzene and xylenes) typically associated with gasoline and lighter distillates;
middle distillate fractions (paraffins, cycloparaffins and some polyaromatics) associated with diesel,
kerosene, some of the lighter fuel oils, which are also of significant mobility;
heavier distillates (long-chain paraffins, cycloparaffins and polyaromatics) associated with lubricating
oils and heavy fuel oils;
organic lead, associated with leaded gasoline;
other organic additives, e.g. anti-freeze (glycols), alcohols, detergents and various proprietary compounds.
Key sources of such contamination at petroleum storage terminals are:
loading gantries;
tank farms,
individual ASTs and particularly USTs;
interceptors;
additive compounds;
pipeline runs;
drainage runs;
pump raft/pipe manifold areas;
vehicle washing facilities;
maintenance workshops.
Issues to consider:
Whilst contamination may be associated with specific facilities the contaminants are relatively highly mobile
in nature and have the potential to migrate significant distances from the source in soil and groundwater.
Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination can take several forms: free-phase product, dissolved-phase,
emulsified phase or vapour phase. Each form will require different methods of remediation so that clean-up
may be complex and expensive.
Petroleum hydrocarbons include a number of compounds of significant toxicity, e.g. benzene and some
polyaromatics are known carcinogens.
Vapour phase contamination can be of significance in terms of odour issues, e.g. houses, food and retail
outlets.
Waste Management
Typical wastes include:
waste oils and out of spec. materials;
waste oil sludge (from interceptors/tanks);
solid wastes (cartons, rags, etc.).
Issues to consider:
Regulatory requirements.
Means of solid waste disposal management.
Disposal permits.
Fees and penalties.
Use of approved disposal routes (and contractors).
Ownership of waste disposal site.
Potential pollution of soil and groundwater related to on-site and off-site storage and disposal.

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

Water Supply/Wastewater Management


Facilities will require significant volumes of water for on-site processes (especially tanker washing facilities)
as well as for sanitary and potable use.
Wastewater will derive from these sources and from stormwater run-off. The latter could contain significant
concentrations of petroleum product.
Wastewaters are generally collected in separate drainage systems (industrial, sanitary and stormwater)
although industrial and stormwater systems may in some cases be combined.
On-site treatment facilities may exist for wastewater or treatment takes place at a public wastewater
treatment plant.
Discharge from wastewater plants or from stormwater run-off is usually passed to a nearby water course.
Stormwater/industrial water generally passed to a separator or interceptor prior to leaving the site which
takes out free-phase oil (i.e. floating product) from the water prior to discharge.
Alternatively, contaminated water may be temporarily stored and disposed off-site by a waste management
contractor.
Issues to consider:
Source of process, potable and sanitary water (municipal, on-site, abstraction, surface water etc.).
Permits and charges for water use.
Ability of industrial sewer system to capture all process effluents.
Separation of sanitary from industrial/stormwater systems where required, and separation of water from
tanker washing facilities from interceptors.
Integrity of drainage system is critical.
Possibility of accidental releases of petroleum products reaching local water courses or entering sanitary
sewage system.
Efficiency of wastewater treatment system and interceptors/separators critical, check type, effectiveness,
monitoring, final effluent and sludge disposal.
Regulatory compliance discharge consents, enforcement, costs.
Requirements and costs for potential upgrade of wastewater treatment plant and interceptors/separators.
Atmospheric Emissions
Atmospheric emissions from specific processes on-site are likely to be limited in extent although fugitive
emissions may be of concern in terms of:
lighter distillates, if benzene is present;
odour issues in terms of neighbours or sensitive receptors.
Issues to consider:
Any regulatory requirements (including health and hygiene permit requirements).
Fees and penalties.
Requirements to upgrade pollution abatement equipment and vapour recovery systems.
Fire Risks
Due to the obvious risk of fire terminals are equipped with sprinkler or spray systems which may draw upon the
mains supply of water, or water held in lagoons, or from neighbouring water courses. Fire water so produced will
be polluting and require containment.
Asbestos
Asbestos is unlikely to be a major issue at petroleum storage sites although as it is often found in a range of
structures including building materials, pipework, insulation, it may need to be removed from the site which can
be costly.

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

Noise
It is possible that noise may reach or exceed nuisance levels, particularly on larger sites.
Odour
Odour may be a nuisance in sensitive areas and provision of odour control devices may be necessary.
Service Stations
Although the scale of operation at a petrol filling station is much less than at a petroleum storage terminal, many
of the above environmental issues are pertinent:
Storage and Handling of Petroleum Products
Storage in USTs, also some storage in ASTs.
Issues to consider:
Age, construction details and testing programme of tanks, especially USTs, pipelines and fittings.
Condition of surface of facilities (degree of impermeability, integrity (presence of cracks) especially in pump
area and area where spillages are likely.
Licensing of storage facilities.
Accident/fire precautions and emergency procedures.
Soil and Groundwater Contamination
Key hazards at service stations include:
potential for gasoline contamination (volatile paraffins and aromatics, including benzene);
potential for diesel contamination (middle distillate range hydrocarbons).
Key sources of contamination at service stations are:
leakage from USTs;
spillages around fill point of UST;
spillage from pump area (where integrity of surface compromised);
leakages from underground pipelines, drains and interceptor.
Issues to consider:
Highly mobile nature of contaminants (lighter fractions of significant solubility).
Likely presence of potentially significant migration pathways from cracks in the hardstanding and from inground USTs.
Volatile nature of contaminants (potential for migration of vapours into basements, wine cellars, etc, of
neighbouring houses).
Toxic nature of gasoline constituents, especially benzene, and MTBE (additive in unleaded fuel).
Waste Management
Waste includes petrol/diesel contaminated rags, paper, sand or other material used for clearing or containing
leaks or spills.
Issues to consider:
As for larger petroleum storage sites (see above).

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

Water Supply/Wastewater Management


Water draining from car wash facilities should not pass through interceptors.
Other issues, as for larger facilities (see above).
Issues to consider:
As for larger petroleum storage sites (see above) noting particularly:
integrity and layout of drainage system;
adequacy and maintenance of interceptors (should contain maximum contents of a compartment of a petrol
tanker);
requirement for separation of car wash drainage from interceptor.
Asbestos
As for medium to large size petroleum storage areas.
Noise
As for medium to large size petroleum storage areas.
Odour
As for medium to large size petroleum storage areas.

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION PLANS


Develop an Environmental Action Plan (EAP) to include:
regulatory compliance measures;
waste management plan (waste minimisation, re-use, recycling, monitoring);
health and safety improvements;
costs of upgrades/compliance;
assessment and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater;
roles and responsibilities, time-frame and targets.
Most measures to achieve regulatory compliance and minimise hazards involve low to moderate or intermediate
levels of technology.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS
Upgrade material storage areas, especially underground storage facilities. Minimise underground storage or
underground pipelines in favour of above-ground structures. Provide secondary containment facilities for all
pipelines, tanks and drum storage areas.
Installation of loss detectors on long pipe runs.
Introduction of good environmental engineering practice.
Improvements on wastewater facilities and interceptors to achieve lower discharge.
Separation of wastewater streams where appropriate.

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage

GUIDE TO INITIAL DUE DILIGENCE SITE VISITS


When visiting the sites of potential borrowers or during loan supervision, use the following as a practical guide to
the initial due diligence process.
Perform a complete tour of the site compound if possible.
Quantities and characteristics of atmospheric emissions, wastewater discharges and solid and hazardous
waste arising.
Note signs of poor housekeeping, inadequate/untidy storage areas, poor drum labelling.
Review current status of pollution abatement technology.
Evaluate potential for spillages and leakages to enter soil or stormwater drainage system.
Check drainage systems.
Note nature of solid waste disposal.
Look for localised spills, leaking tanks, pipes etc.
Check for distressed flora/vegetation zones near storage sites.
Check personal protective equipment.
Review machinery guarding.
Assess emergency response to fires, major spills, etc.
Review historical and projected trends for environmental fees and fines.
Not all of the above may be applicable to retail filling stations. However, in the case of the latter, particular
attention should be paid to:
integrity of surface, presence of cracks, vegetation within hardstanding;
age and condition of USTs;
monitoring programmes undertaken;
state of drainage systems and interceptors;
known losses of product/spillages etc.
It is also suggested that contact is made with local regulatory agencies to determine compliance and whether
complaints have been made by the public.

Sub-Sectoral Guidelines Petroleum Storage