Minor spills or major spills

To work out whether the spill is a minor or major one, you should check if:

  • there is a strong smell of oil indoors
  • the oil has spread from your land, under your house or down a drain
  • there are any ponds, loughs or drains, or private water supplies in the area

It's a minor spill if you can answer 'no' to all these questions and you're sure the spill is recent, small and limited to shallow soil. It's a major spill if you answer 'yes' to any of these questions or you aren't sure the spill was recent, small and limited to shallow soil.

Clearing up minor spills

You can clear up clearly confirmed minor spills yourself though you may prefer to use a contractor. You should:

  • check the soil, working out from the source of the spill to find where the oil now is
  • if the oil is limited to a few buckets of soil, dig up the oily and stained soil, remove the oil and dispose of the soil correctly
  • if the oil has spread to more than a few buckets of soil, follow the advice for a major spill instead
  • make a note of anything you've done to clear up the spill and take photos

Clearing up major spills

You shouldn't clear up major spills yourself. You should get a specialist contractor to do all the necessary investigations and do any clearing up and disposal.