6 September 2011

Tesco Filling Station

from Hugh Barlow

I was called today by the Devon County Council petroleum officer with responsibility for this area. In a much earlier conversation with Steve Moore of the Environment Agency, the latter had made it plain to James and me that a filling station in this flood-liable location with high groundwater levels would require casing the storage tanks in concrete (to prevent them from "floating" in his words).
Today the Petroleum Officer informed me that, according to the plans which he had received in early July, Tesco had without prompting met all the requirements of a filling station in this sort of location. There would be approx. 1ft (rather than the usual 6ins) concrete slabs below and above the two 125,000 litre tanks, which would rest at datum level (mean sea level). Along the sides would be a coffer dam of double-skin sheet steel, and, once the tanks were inserted, the space would be back-filled with concrete. Pipework would be double-skinned plastic. Regular inspection should ensure that any deterioration in the outer skin was detected before the second layer was affected.

He himself would have oversight, and there was due to be an on-site meeting in August before work commenced in September. Without the licence which he issues, the site cannot operate. But it is the Environment Agency who would be the official consultee.

Similar provision in other South West locations had proved 100% effective in river flooding, with no leakage at all.

Incidentally, he informed me that two earlier filling stations in the Harbour Road area had been cased in concrete when they were decommissioned.

Our concerns on this particular score appear to have been met.

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