Fuel & Oil Interceptor Care Guide | How to Avoid Large Fines

14 August 2023 by CSG

What is an interceptor?

Fuel and oil interceptors are drainage systems found at commercial and industrial sites. They prevent oil from polluting the environment or discharging into the sewer. You can find them in:

  • Car parks
  • Car washes
  • Petrol station forecourts
  • Construction sites
  • Factories
  • Vehicle maintenance areas

Pretty much anywhere oil or fuel spillage is likely to occur!

Dirty interceptor after years of not being properly maintained.

Why take notice of them?

Also known as oil separators or forecourt separators, interceptors are little noticed but vital systems. Regular inspections, servicing and cleaning can help you:

Inside look at the build up of waste in a poorly maintained interceptor leading to an increased risk of environmental damage.

How do they work?

Interceptors and separators are designed to take an active role in filtering contaminants from rainwater runoff, such as:

  • Grime
  • Dirt
  • Silt
  • Petrol
  • Brake dust
  • Oil

The devices contain chambers that separate oil from water and sediment. The oil floats to the top and sediment sinks to the bottom. Cleaner water flows through the chambers and exits through a storm drain or outlet. Vents attached to these chambers release any trapped vapour during the process.

Interceptor inspections:

The EA says you must check your interceptor regularly. An inspection every three to six months should include:

  • Checking the area around the interceptor – is the interceptor accessible? Are there any damaged areas that could cause an issue? Can you lift the manhole?
  • Check the accumulation of silt, oil and any other substances. If there is a build-up, you should consider a clean and empty. This is especially important after heavy rain.
  • A visual check of any mechanical parts associated with the interceptor e.g. probes.

Tank integrity testing should take place every five years.

Interceptor servicing:

It is advisable to have your interceptor serviced every six months by a qualified engineer in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Servicing is also required if an alarm is activated, or after an oil spill. Busy sites will need servicing on a more regular basis. In some locations, it may be necessary to do it monthly or even weekly.

An interceptor service should include:

  • Checking the filters, and if necessary, repair or replace them.
  • Servicing the electrical systems (e.g. volume alarms and automatic closure devices)
  • Examining manholes, pipework, gullies, and other water-draining infrastructure around the interceptor.

CSG’s specialist drainage engineers are on hand to assist you with this.

Cleaning your interceptor:

Clean and empty your interceptor when there is a build-up of oil or silt in the system. You should also arrange an empty if the alarm sounds, or in the event of an oil or chemical spill.

This must be done by a licensed hazardous waste carrier, like CSG.

CSG tankers can come and clean your drains, taking out sludge or oil that has collected on the surface. We will also empty and clean the tanks. Finally, we will flush the interceptor’s dip system.

Busy industrial or commercial sites may need cleaning more frequently. You should keep records and log any inspections and services. Any incidents that have occurred within your system should also be noted.

A look at the clean interceptor after a full clean and service ready to start protecting the environment and business compliance.

Benefits of regular cleaning and maintenance:

  • Being compliant – Failing to arrange regular maintenance puts you at high risk of voiding your insurance. A spill caused by a lack of maintenance could result in prosecution.
  • Saving money – Regularly cleaning and servicing your tanks has multiple cost benefits. It reduces the risk of fines from pollution events as well as clean-up costs. These fines will cost your company a lot more compared with carrying out proper maintenance in the first place!

Proper tank maintenance also prevents sludge from building up and becoming compacted. Having more solid waste in your tank will increase collection and disposal costs.

  • Pollution Prevention – Interceptors hold harmful chemicals and contaminants. You have a responsibility to reduce the risk of oil contamination into mains sewage. Such incidents can harm the environment and people. It’s crucial to take action to prevent these potential hazards.

Customers with a long-term plan for cleaning and servicing their interceptor can save money while protecting the environment. To get help with your interceptor, contact 0800 011 6600 or click here to learn how CSG can assist you.

a much cleaner look at the inside of an interceptor after a full clean.