The biggest problem by far with storing large quantities of oil is the risk of pollution.
Nothing illustrates this more than the oil pollution caused by the explosion on the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Whilst our own local domestic oil storage issues might seem insignificant when compared to this, any pollution caused can have a devastating effect on the local area and wild life. This is even more pronounced in places where the contamination can leak into a nearby stream or water course.
This problem has been well known by THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY and OFTEC for a very long while now.
OFTEC have attempted to preach good practice in all its training courses for installers, whilst THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY have issued large fines for people found to have cause such pollution. In addition to the fines issued by the courts in response to charges brought by THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY there is also a significant cost for the clean-up operation that will be required.
There have been a number of innovations to help reduce the possibility of pollution leaks and it is true to say that the numbers of these events are lower than they were in the past.
- The introduction of de-aeration devices has eliminated the requirement for having a return pipe taking oil back to the tank under pressure;
- The introduction of bunded tanks has helped reduce pollution events caused through the primary tank rupturing and leaking oil;
- The introduction of the Atkinson Overfill Prevention Device and the Atkinson Overfill and Bund Alarms has helped alleviate the occurrences of overfill when the tanker driver is replenishing the tank contents.
- The one glaring contradiction to all of the good work that has been done is the fact that tank manufactures produce a bunded tank and then go and breach the bund by putting an outlet pipe between the primary tank and the bund wall in order to extract the oil. This has all the weight of the oil behind it, should there be a leak, which could lead to a catastrophic pollution as this is forced out into the environment.
The answer seems simple enough. Why not just take the oil out through the top of the tank, without breaching the bund?
Well? Two main reason really:
1) The natural effects of siphon; and
2) Time equals money.
When we talk about the natural effects of siphon, we need to consider what happens if the feed pipe to the burner becomes fractured and broken. Once the oil has started to be lifted out of the tanks and is flowing downwards it does not care whether it is going to the burner or not. It will just keep on flowing until such time as the supply of oil has run out (i.e. the tank has been completely drained out). The answer to this is to fit what is called an anti-siphon valve. This can detect whether the flow is being caused through the suction of the pump or the suction of the siphon effect. In the event this detects that it is being caused by a siphon it quickly switches off the flow ensuring that not too much pollution has been caused.
When we talk about time equals money, we are talking about the cost of the installer creating a system to allow the oil to be extracted from the top of the tank. This includes making the joints to the anti-siphon valve, top of the tank, etc. This is complicated and can lead to many air leaks around the joints, which can cause the installer lots of grief in identifying and correcting the air leaks in order to get the system functioning. This all adds significant cost to the price of the installation that is ultimately passed on to the purchaser. Obviously, the householder wants the cheapest possible solution and so an installer that quotes for a system with cheaper conventional off-take is more likely to get the job than a conscientious installer that wishes to only implement a top off-take solution.
Atkinson Equipment Ltd have been a manufacturer to the oil industry for many years and have investigated the problem and created the perfect solution – the ATKINSON TANKTOP
This has been designed by Atkinson Equipment Ltd and is exclusively manufactured in the Atkinson factory, Westbury, UK .
Whilst tackling the primary problem for the installer, this is a product that not only eliminates the possibility of air leaks occurring in the system, it is also extremely simple to fit. All in all, the installer does not have to make any screwed joints, capable of allowing air leakage whatsoever. Even the final fitting to the 10mm oil supply pipe is a hydraulic ‘push-fit’ connection.
Additional functionality has been included in the design to make the fitting of this as simple as possible. Things like a ‘floating suction line’ that ensure the oil is always extracted from the top of the liquid thus avoiding contamination from the bottom of the tank and an ‘in-built oil filter’ are integrated into the design as standard.
So successful is the Atkinson Tanktop that some tank manufacturers are already making tanks that do not have a bottom outlet, with its potential to cause pollution.
Possibly the most common question is: “How does the device recognise the difference between the burner calling for oil and a siphon caused through a broken pipe?”
Whilst the technology used is not simple, the answer is. Basically the suction pressure from the burner calling for oil is much larger than the suction pressure caused through the siphon effect. The anti-siphon device built into the Atkinson Tanktop is clever enough to distinguish between the two and switches off the flow when it recognises that the suction pressure is not coming from the pump.
The Atkinson Tanktop has been designed and developed for the oil heating industry by Atkinson Equipment Ltd.
The Atkinson Tanktop has arrived. Drawing on our experience of over 40 years of making products for the Oil Heating market along with that of burner manufacturers, tank manufacturers and heating engineers. It is a product supported by the Enviroment Agencies and OFTEC due to the fact that it incorporates an anti-siphon valve to prevent fuel siphoning from the tank in the event that the oil line is broken thus avoiding environmental pollution (incurring heavy fines and clean-up costs).
Draw oil from your tank safely with the new Atkinson Tanktop, Top Offtake System. Leading the way into the world of Top Offtake, The Atkinson Tanktop is the WORLDS FIRST AND ONLY top Offtake device with all of the features and functions to responsibly draw oil from the top of the tank.
EC Reg. Des. No : 000472493-0001
The innovative product has all the components required for drawing fuel oil from the top of the storage tank in one unit (no joints to leak oil out of or let air in). It incorporates all of the following into one neat, easy to install, unit :
- Floating Suction head
- Silcon suction tube (1.6m)
- Non Return Valve
- 50 Micron Filter
- Diaphram Anti-Siphon Valve
- Anti-Spill Valve
- Tank Inlet Fitting 1″ BSPM
- Purging/Priming Button
- Surface gasket
- Totally Waterproof
- With Top Offtake it is imperative that joints are well made so with only one joint to make, The Atkinson Tanktop is the answer to an Engineer’s prayer.
Now with 10mm push-fit hydraulic connector for simple fitting (blue connector show in the photograph) inside the restrictive space of the bund – simply push the 10mm oil pipe into place. No screwing and making the joint air-tight required whatsoever.
Designed for the 21st century, where the demand is for a system that avoids breaching the bund on an oil storage tank and thus minimising the risk of enviromental pollution, as supported by the Enviroment Agencies and OFTEC.
OFTEC has launched a new eco-labelling scheme for oil storage tanks.
The Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) Scheme builds upon successful eco-labelling initiatives in other industries, and rates new oil tanks according to their environmental features on a scale from one to 10. The lower the number, the lower the risk of an environmental pollution incident.
A tank with an ERA rating of one will be fully bunded, and will incorporate the latest anti-pollution safeguards. One of these anti-pollution safegaurds is Top Offtake take of fuel oil from the storage tank instead of bottom outlet. The Atkinson Tanktop is well positioned to ensure your tank gets the best ERA rating it can.