Oil and fuels are essential to many business and farming activities, but if they are stored, used or disposed of inappropriately, they can pose a health hazard to people and animals. Unlabelled or badly stored fuels and oil could be mistaken for drinks or toys by small children and pets. Badly stored or disposed of fuels and oil can contaminate our soils, air and water. In Canterbury, large quantities of water are taken from rivers and groundwater for use as drinking water or for irrigation. Contamination can make the water unfit for these purposes.
You can do your part by making sure fuels and oil on your farm or business are safely and legally managed – read on to find out more about Environment Canterbury's requirements and how to access HSNO (Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996) information.
Oil, petrol and diesel are hazardous substances that can cause harm to the environment and the health of your family, employees and stock, so must be stored and used appropriately.
You should ensure fuel tanks are maintained and checked regularly to prevent fuel leaking into the ground, groundwater or waterways. This can also save you money by minimising fuel losses should the tank develop a leak. Proper storage and handling practises will also help prevent spills. If a spill does occur, you should have the right equipment and training to prevent it spreading, getting into stormwater drains or waterways, and to clean it up or seek help if it is too large.
For more information on hazardous substance management, see our Pollution Prevention section.
The way you store fuel on your farm is controlled by rules in the Proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan (NRRP). The use and storage of oil, petrol, diesel (and agrichemicals) in above or below ground storage containers is permitted by the NRRP provided that certain conditions are met. There are also more requirements for larger amounts of substances held.
Please contact Environment Canterbury and talk to a Customer Services Officer (03) 353 9007 and 0800 EC INFO (0800 324 636) for further information.
If you store less than 1000 litres of oil and fuels, you need to ensure they are stored on an impervious surface, under cover and 10 m away from a bore, wetland or waterway. In a shed with a concrete floor is the easiest way to do this.
If you store 1000 litres or up to 4999 litres, you will need to meet additional conditions such as secondary containment, spill kits and procedures. You can find out more about these conditions in rule WQL 43 of the Water Quality Chapter. You can also download spill procedures, information from the Pollution Prevention Programme pages.
This amount requires a resource consent. Please contact Environment Canterbury and talk to a Customer Services Officer (03) 353 9007 and 0800 EC INFO (0800 324 636) for further information. Or see resource consent information on this website.
District and City councils also have rules about where or how hazardous substances are stored. So you should check with your local district or city council what requirements they have. You can find their contact details here.
There are also certain things you must do to be compliant with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). If you have more than 100 litres of petrol (not including what is in a vehicle's fuel tank) or have a storage tank, you should find out whether you comply with the HSNO requirements. You can do this by phoning the ERMA compliance line on 0800 376 234 or visit the ERMA website here.
It is important to make sure you dispose of unwanted or used oil and fuel safely and legally. If you are giving it to someone, or it is collected from your site, you should make sure the person or company it is going to is re-refining it or has a resource consent to burn it or use it. Most of Canterbury’s waste oil goes to the Holcim Cement plant on the West Coast, which can legally burn it.
(03) 353 9007
0800 324 636 (EC INFO)
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