Waste oil storage
Waste oil can be disposed of in different ways. This can be done by sending the used oil off-site (some facilities such as your local garages and local waste disposal facilities are allowed to handle used oil). Waste oil tanks can be used to store these waste oils until they are collected.
What contaminates the oil?
Modern engines can be efficient, but the heat they generate still changes the engine oil, causing additives and other essential properties to deteriorate. This creates acids that combine with other pollutants such as dirt, dust, and rust along with a small amount of water. Add to these exhaust gases leaking from the piston rings and you have dirty oil that may contain cadmium, aluminum, lead, steel, iron and chrome as well as arsenic and benzopyrene.
This is a list of chemicals you wouldn’t want in your drinking water, so waste oil storage is highly regulated. Just one liter of waste oil is enough to make one million liters of fresh water undrinkable, so avoiding spills should be the first priority.
Waste oil storage – the basics
Essentially, legislation prohibits the dumping of waste oil into soil or rainwater and outlines requirements for the prevention of any spillage by ensuring that oil is stored in a closed and enclosed area and in suitable containers.
You may also need a license if you are storing large quantities of waste oil, and in some cases a tax will be imposed on liquid waste. Handling of waste oil may be subject to hazardous waste tracking.
In general, basic information about waste oil storage are:
- Do not mix waste oil with other materials
- Label waste oil containers correctly
- Never store waste oil in a rusted or damaged container or tank.
- Find out your state or territory legislation regarding waste oil storage
Significantly, NSW EPA says you should minimize the number of liquid waste containers you store and use spill containment systems that minimize the possibility of drums tipping over and causing a spill outside the designated containment area.