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Winter is coming. Is your heating oil system up to the job?


Winter is coming. Is your heating oil system up to the job?

With winter near, the Environment Agency, Portsmouth Water and OFTEC are again encouraging people in parts of Hampshire and West Sussex to check and replace failing domestic heating oil tanks by offering a FREE inspection and 50% grant towards a replacement oil tank.

Simon Deacon, Portsmouth Water Catchment and Environment Manager, is part of the scheme:

“If your domestic heating oil tank is more than 20 years old, in poor condition, single skinned, or with deteriorating pipework, then it’s more likely to leak into the ground or local rivers and streams.

“That leak can cost you more than £20k to clean up, and if it contaminates local drinking water, that can quickly escalate to six figures. 

“We want to help protect drinking water supplies, so that’s why we offer eligible homes a FREE tank inspection and 50% off replacement works. So far, 42 local homes have taken advantage of the free inspections, 30 of whom have gone on to receive the replacement works”.

Dawn O’Neill, Environment Agency Groundwater Technical Specialist, adds: 

“Oil pollution is one of the most common incidents I deal with. The EA records an average of over 130 pollution incidents in England every year caused by heating oil from people’s homes.  These can have a major impact on our groundwater, rivers, streams and wildlife.

“By working with Portsmouth Water on this scheme we are reducing the risk to these precious habitats, and helping protect people from costly clean ups later down the line”.

It’s easy to apply:


3 easy steps to protect your heating oil and home:

  1. Find out if your tank and pipes are safe at or watch
  2. Check your tank regularly and every time before you place an order to make sure it isn’t damaged or leaking, and get a competent person to check it annually, preferably at the same time as your annual boiler service. Find a registered oil technician at
  3. Check your home insurance. Ask your insurer to check you are covered for a ‘gradual environmental spill’ not just ‘sudden, accidental loss’. Search for an insurance policy that covers you properly if yours doesn’t.



Always report an oil spill or leak to the Environment Agency’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60