The Environment Agency is urging people in the North East to check their oil tanks for leaks to protect the environment and reduce the risk of financial losses.
With Autumn upon us many households – particularly in rural areas – will soon be getting oil delivered ready for winter.
Leaked oil can end up in drains, many of which lead directly to rivers, streams, lakes and even garden ponds, having the same effect as pouring it directly into the watercourse.
Oil is poisonous to fish and other wildlife and smothers plants – just two litres of oil could seriously pollute the volume of fresh water needed to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Neil Paisley, from the Environment Agency’s Environmental Management team, said: “It is vital that oil is only ever stored in tanks that are in good condition. Both the tank and pipe work should be regularly inspected and people should never buy more oil than they can safely store.”