What to do in the event of an Oil Spill?

We have been involved in many incidents of suspected or confirmed oil leaks and we understand this can be an extremely stressful experience! If there is an oil spill, there is a risk to property, human health and the environment, so taking the correct course of action is crucial!

Here are some key things to remember if it happens to you: 

  • Act Fast – if you notice unusual heating oil consumption, smell of oil or visual signs of pollution investigate immediately! The sooner you act, the more likely you can limit the damage!
  • Switch off Oil Supply – In all cases switch off the supply at your oil tank through the isolation valve! This can prevent any further loss from the oil feed pipe or oil boiler if these are the issue. 
  • Inspect – Visually inspect your oil tank, oil feed pipe and boiler for an oil spill. If you cannot see an obvious issue, check with neighbours to see whether they have had an oil spill. The contamination may have migrated across the boundary into your property. 
  • Contain – If you find the source of the leak, place a tray under any leak to prevent any loss to the ground. If there is a crack in the tank, rub household soap into it which should temporarily prevent any further leakage. Use sand or soil to soak it up and prevent travel towards watercourses or drains. 
  • Ring for help – Whether you have discovered the issue or not, ring a specialist contractor like SSS Alleviate to investigate and undertake emergency works.  
  • Isolate the Area – Keep children and pets away from the impacted area. 
  • Odours – If there is a smell of oil inside your property, air it out by opening doors and windows. A specialist contractor will install a fan to ensure your home remains habitable. 
  • Calculate – try to work out how much oil has been lost. You will be asked this information by remedial contractors and your insurance company. 
  • Never use detergents or a hose to wash the spill away – This can make it worse!


Acting quickly can prevent costly damage to the environment, your property and neighbouring properties. If you have any doubts do not hesitate to ask for help from a specialist. For more information visit the Northern Ireland Government’s guidance for Oil Spills at Home.  Or if you have any concerns SSS Alleviate can attend site immediately to help.

Oil Spill at a Boiler
Oil Spill at a Boiler