An article on the radio today got me thinking. They said that many
redundant filling stations - put out of business by the supermarkets as
are so many others - are so expensive to have the land properly reclaimed
by removing tanks etc, that in low value areas are simply left derelict.
Fairly close to me is one such. Been derelict for a couple of years. But
it's unusual in that it was built in the garden of a quite nice Victorian
house, which is still there - it was used for the offices etc. It also had
a detached MOT workshop added which is nicely built and of course has two
large bays - both of which were equipped with lifts. I'd say it would
easily hold 6 cars. The forecourt area is fairly small, and a decent
fence, paving, and a few plant pots would make it look fine.
So my question is - do the tanks *have* to be removed, or could they be
simply filled with water, rubble or concrete etc?
*A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good *
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW 12
Nah, they don't have to be removed by DEFRA, thay are generally removed by
Demolition companies (my father-in-law works for one, that how I know). They
don't always have to remove the tanks, if the plot isn't going to be build
on, they generally just fill them with concrete. If foundations are needed,
then the tanks come out.
That's what I hoped - I can understand the high cost of re-development if
they had to come out for a new build, but in this case they could stay
where they were. Wonder what the cost of filling them would be?
*You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW 12
"Dave Plowman" wrote
| > They don't always have to remove the tanks, if the plot isn't
| > going to be build on, they generally just fill them with concrete.
| > If foundations are needed, then the tanks come out.
| That's what I hoped - I can understand the high cost of re-development
| if they had to come out for a new build, but in this case they could
| stay where they were. Wonder what the cost of filling them would be?
Well, concrete's cheaper than petrol :-)
Ignoring labour costs, a 1000 gallon tank (4,500-ish litres) would require
about 4.5 cubic metres of concrete. A decent filling station would have
several tanks - each probably in excess of 1000 gallons (maybe 2000 or 3000
If we assume a total capacity of 10,000 gallons (45,000 litres), that would
require 45 M^3 of concrete. How much is readymix per M^3 these days?
That is around 7 truck loads at 500 quid a truck. Someone said it had to be
a special mix, though. Also, expect to pay around 300,000 quid in insurance,
bungs to councillors and building regulation fees.
I can't see why one or more of the tanks can't be cleaned out, filled with
water and used as an interseasonal water store being heated by an array or
solar panels. Although foam insulation would need to be sprayed around
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There's a terrace of houses not too far from here that's built on what used
to be a filling station. Prior to that it was a pub, although that was
flattened by a plane load of bombs during WWII. With a site history like
that I bet they don't have many bonfires in the garden.
I undertake Health & Safety on filling stations for my living.
Petrol tanks are not permitted to be left empty when a filling station
closes. This does not apply to diesel tanks. In addition to the Health and
Safety at Work Act this is controlled by the Public Health Act. The
operation of the site and closure is regulated by the fire brigade or
Trading Standards Department of your local council. The land contamination
is dealt with by Environmental Health, or if the site is over a water
extraction (source protection) zone then the Environment Agency will be
involved. It's hard to hide a petrol station so not many escape being made
When sites initially close it is normal for the tanks to be water filled for
up to three years or made safe permanently straight away. Making safe
involves filling with resin generated foam such as
http://www.tanksafe.co.uk /, a lean concrete mix (which must be vibrated to
remove voids) or removal and cutting up after de-gassing.
Tanks cannot generally be washed out or steam cleaned as the hydrocarbons
will leach out of the tank shell and create an explosive atmosphere again.
Water alone has been shown to be insufficient in removing petroleum residues
from the tank shell.
Anyone competent can make tanks safe (apart from de-gassing or foam filling
which require specialist kit) this operation is overseen by the fire brigade
or TSD after a method statement and risk assessment has been produced. This
is not really surprising when you consider that most filling station are in
populated area and huge amounts of petrol vapour can be is released during
this operation. The regulator overseeing the work makes no charge for their
attendance or approving the method statements, nor have I ever heard of them
being bunged! There are also no Building Regs fees or planning consent
required for making tanks safe.
AFAIK the NHBC will not issue their 10 year warranty to houses built over
old petrol tanks even if they have been made safe to current standards.
What is strange is that the Public Health Act puts the responsibility of
making safe with the occupier of the site and not the owner. Many tenants
are caught out when they close a petrol station and keep open a car sales or
workshop and find they are liable for remediation costs.
If you think a closed site has not been made safe, ask the local fire
brigade or TSD. Contact details are here http://www.apea.org.uk/contacts /
Off topic reply coming :-p
That quote is very similar to a very funny after-dinner speech made by a
chap called David Gunson, an air traffic controller, and available on
tape and CD called "what goes up might come down" (he was talking about
airports at the time, saying the government have found most of them)
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