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Lorry Hits Oil Tank

Client: Insurance


The driver of a lorry lost control and the lorry left the road, crashed through a boundary wall, and knocked the oil tank from its position at the rear of the house. The force of the impact broke the oil tank into pieces and sent oil onto and over the roof of the house and into soils at the front and side of the house. Approximately 500 litres of kerosene heating oil was lost.


A site survey was conducted. Severe oil impaction was found in the soils at the rear of the house, up to the foundations. Oil was found in gutters and coating the roof tiles. Oil was found in the grass and soils at the side of the house and on and under the paving at the front. Significant odours were present throughout the property, and a concentration of volatile organic compounds of up to 20 parts per million were measured in the air of the house. Soft furnishings in the house smelt of oil. The oil had reached a culvert at the rear of the house.

Risks and Remediation

The home owners were evacuated for the duration of works due to the risk of inhalation of oil vapours and the extent of intrusive work required in the house. To mitigate the risk to the health of future site users and site workers and guard against the risk of further migration of oil from the soils to the house, approximately 80 tonnes of oil impacted soils at the rear and side of the house were excavated. The paving at the front was broken out and underlying soils to 0.5m below ground excavated, a further 10 tonnes.

Floors within the house were broken out to establish the extent of oil impaction to underlying fill material and soils, and a further 50 tonnes were excavated from the rooms at the rear of the house.

Surfactant scrubs were used to treat the internal and external faces of the footings and foundations, and oily water was collected during this process.

All removed materials, soils, and oily water were disposed of at licensed landfill.


The external ground was backfilled with soil, and new paving added to the front area. Internal reinstatement was undertaken by a specialist building contractor.


Validation was by field monitoring and submission of air and soil for analysis at a UKAS accredited laboratory.