For Homeowners

CTSL FAQs

More information on CTSL’s oil spill clean-up & remediation services

  • Shut the fuel supply off
  • Stem the flow
  • Call a local OFTEC registered heating engineer

If you have an ongoing oil spill or leak internally or externally it’s important that the fuel supply is turned off. Go to the oil storage tank and turn the shut-off valve 90 degrees or until the tap is in the off position.

If the leak is from the oil storage tank itself, from a crack or puncture, then stem the flow by rubbing a bar of soap into the failure point. This is a common temporary solution to prevent further loss until a heating engineer can attend.

Now call your local OFTEC registered heating engineer and ask them to attend on an emergency basis. It’s important that the loss of oil is minimised now to prevent further damage. A heating engineer can decant oil into a temporary vessel and also install an oil feed pipe to restore your heating supply until the problem is remedied.

If your leak is internal, from the boiler or an oil feed pipe, once the fuel supply has been switched off you may want to consider ventilating the affected room(s) by opening windows in the property.

  • Contact your insurance company
  • Speak with your appointed loss adjuster
  • You may also need to contact the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency or Natural Resources Wales

It’s important that you report the spill or leak to your insurance company as soon as possible, even if you think the loss is minimal. An oil leak can cause serious damage to your property, health and the wider environment and the extent of the damage is not always visible.

Your insurance company will likely engage with a loss adjuster who will oversee the claim and, in turn, appoint a contractor of their choice – such as CTSL – to assess the incident and advise on how to clean it up.

Depending on the severity and location of the oil leak it may be prudent to notify the Environment Agency particularly if you suspect the leak is impacting a local water course.

CTSL will be happy to speak to you over the phone to give you some advice and recommendations initially, but we recommend that you contact your insurance company before anyone else.

No, unless there is a direct threat to life or the oil spill or leak presents an emergency. Often water is sprayed on the spill or leak which results in spreading the leak further.

Yes. Exposure to the vapours via inhalation may cause sore throats, dizziness, headaches and nausea. Exposing the skin to fuel oil may cause dermatitis.

If you are suffering any health effects, please contact us for further advice or seek medical help.

The odour of oil will not disappear over time and will always be present until remediation of the property is complete.

CTSL Spill Specialists will install powerful fans designed to draw the build-up of odour out of a building if required.

  • How deeply can the oil penetrate?
  • Will below ground services be affected?
  • How far up an internal wall can the oil rise?

Often an oil spill, whether internal or external, can be hiding deeper damage, danger and problems. The damage at surface level is one thing to consider but below the surface further, more widespread impact is highly likely. Lateral and vertical spread into deeper sub-soils is very common and influenced by soil type.

Kerosene – or oil – can soak into structures such as concrete floors and walls, both masonry and plasterboard. Kerosene acts to degrade damp proofing measures and insulation, and therefore can cause long term problems with the structure if left untreated.

Below ground services will be affected if the oil can reach them. The service, whether a foul drain, electrical cable or ducting, will be used by the oil to migrate to other parts of the property. Rubber seals or armouring will eventually perish or be degraded if exposed to the oil for too long.

  • What are the effects of oil in water?
  • What are the effects of oil in soil?

Fuel oil is deadly to aquatic life if the spill eventually finds its way into a water course. If this happens, the Environment Agency must be notified immediately.

Kerosene can kill off plant life, including trees, and remain as a contaminant source preventing future plant growth if left untreated. The plume will also begin to spread and migrate, possibly onto third party property, especially if heavy rain or groundwater assists this. Oil spills can easily descend into the bedrock and impact drinking water aquifers. Again, the Environment Agency must be notified immediately if this is a possibility.

  • Phase 1 – Initial assessment
  • Phase 2 – Site investigation
  • Phase 3 – Remediation
  • Phase 4 – Validation
  • Phase 5 – Reinstatement

1. Immediately after discussing the spill or leak with your loss adjuster, the contractor will contact you to arrange an Initial Site Assessment. This should happen as soon as possible to establish the basics of how the spill or leak occurred and what should be done to remediate your property. This phase can sometimes be done relatively quickly as experienced contractors can recommend some immediate building works to begin mitigating risks.

2. If the oil spill is large and/or the property in question is affected in multiple areas, a Site Investigation may be conducted where information is gathered more methodically to ensure an effective remedial strategy can be achieved.

3. Once as much information as possible is gathered, and approval from your insurance company is received, Remediation will start. Obviously this can take many forms and will be determined by the information gathered at phase 1 and 2. The contractor’s Project Manager will speak to you about what is required in detail before any works commence.

4. When remediation is complete, the contractor will gather physical samples (such as soil, water and/or air) in order to validate the site as being decontaminated. These samples are submitted to independent accredited laboratories in order to provide evidence that the oil spill is no longer a risk to any receptors such as human health, the property structure and the wider environment. A report will be prepared at the end of the project in order to evidence the works carried out.

5. Reinstatement of the affected area, both internal and external, is typically conducted on a ‘like for like basis’ and aims to restore the property to its original condition in so far as is practicable.

  • What accreditations do CTSL SS have?
  • Are CTSL SS experienced enough to handle this work?

CTSL has a long established history with respect to the remediation of fuel and oil spills. Established in 2018, CTSL Spill Specialists was created in order to expand existing remediation services to provide a nationwide specialist environmental claims management solution to insurers, loss adjusters, businesses and homeowners throughout the UK. Our team of highly knowledgeable environmental claims management Directors, Managers, site teams and builders have over 20 years’ scientific remediation experience and building reinstatement expertise, and we’re proud to work with homeowners and businesses from Lands End to the Outer Hebrides.

Our dedicated and experienced workforce includes time-served project managers, environmental consultants, building specialists, multi-skilled tradesmen, ground workers, spill response specialists and remediation engineers. Our commitment to customer service and delivering work to the highest standard sets us apart.

Given the specialist nature of the works we undertake, CTSL aims to use our own in-house skilled workforce to investigate, treat, remediate and reinstate your property. We only use sub-contractors where necessary for crtain trades or bespoke reinstatement. Our in-house approach means that we can commence, monitor and approve works much more quickly and with greater quality assurance and control.

No. Leaving an oil spill or leak in the ground will only worsen the situation, potentially spreading contamination further and making the remediation work more extensive, more time-consuming and more costly for your insurer.

It’s very difficult to say as every spill and property is different; we often find something unexpected or find contamination has reached a greater extent than thought. Your dedicated project manager will maintain good communication with you throughout, keeping you informed of progress and next steps. There are countless potential uncertainties in handling a remediation project, and oil contamination work can be notoriously complex.

Wherever possible, safe and practical, we will try to ensure you can remain in your home. However, where the spill has affected internal areas, it is likely that you will need to move out temporarily. Remediation work is unpleasant, releasing odours, vapours, dust, noise and creating disruption that your family is safer to avoid. Your insurer will advise you regards policy coverage for alternative accommodation and work with you to find you alternative accommodation to protect your wellbeing and to allow us to work more efficiently on the project.

We want to get your home back into a liveable condition as soon as possible, and that remains our aim throughout every project.

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