Saanich residents urged to watch for spills from home oil tanks

October 9, 2018

Information bulletin
For immediate release


Saanich, BC - This fall, many Saanich residents will fill their oil tank to prepare for colder days. Unfortunately, this can lead to spills coming from aged or damaged tanks. Residents are encouraged to have their tank inspected before filling to help prevent unnecessary costs and environmental damage.

Oil spills can quickly have a direct environmental impact on fish and wildlife habitat in creeks, rivers and marine waters by leaching into groundwater or stormwater systems. Saanich responds to approximately five oil spills from home heating fuel tanks annually. Even unused tanks can be a source of contamination: decommissioned tanks have been known to fill with water and slowly leak into the soil.

Faulty tanks can prove costly to current and future property owners. Often homeowners must cover all cleanup costs since most house insurance policies don’t cover oil spills.

To help prevent pollution and cleanup costs, Saanich’s Oil Burning Equipment and Flammable Liquid and Combustible Liquid Fuel Tank Bylaw requires unused underground tanks or tanks that have been out of service for more than two years to be removed. There are also incentive programs to encourage homeowners to move away from oil tanks to more efficient heating.

If you notice a spill, a quick response is key. The longer a spill takes to be reported, the more damage occurs. Spills are to be reported to the Emergency Management BC Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456 so that both Saanich and provincial agencies are notified and can respond appropriately.

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Media contact

Harley Machielse
Director of Engineering