Petroleum Licensing

As a fire authority, Limerick City and County Council is responsible for the licensing of petroleum stores, in accordance with the Dangerous Substances Retail & Private Petroleum Stores Regulations 1979 as amended.

Petroleum Classes

In the regulations petroleum is defined as being one of three classes:  

  • Class I Petrol
  • Class II Kerosene/paraffin
  • Class III Diesel/DERV/Central Heating Oil

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License Obligation for Petrol Storage

The Council may grant or refuse an application for a license.

If the Council refuses to grant a licence or grants a license on conditions with which the applicant is dissatisfied, the applicant may appeal to the Health and Safety Authority. Where the Authority gives a direction with which the applicant is dissatisfied, the applicant may appeal to the High Court.

Licensable premises include:

  • Petrol stations that dispense petrol through retail transactions on a forecourt
  • Commercial sites that dispense petrol for consumption by employees

Storage of Petrol (i.e. Class 1 above) above certain thresholds requires a Petroleum Licence to be obtained from the Local Authority. The thresholds are listed in Section 21 of the Dangerous Substances Act 1972.

Details of the documentation that must accompany an application are listed in Section 12 of S.I. 311/1979, click here.

An in-date (within the last three years) certificate of testing of electrics in hazardous areas must accompany all licence / licence renewal applications. Click here for application form.

Licence applications for underground petrol storage tanks greater than 20 years old are to include an in date pressure test certificate for such tanks. For tanks between 20 to 30 years old, they must be pressure tested by a specialist contractor every two years. For tanks greater than 30 years old, they must be pressure tested by specialist contractor every year.

An authorised officer of the Council may enter, inspect and examine any premises used as a petroleum store.

For guidance from the HSA about Petrol Storage click here.

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License obligation for Bulk Petrol Storage

Limerick City and County Council issues licences under the Dangerous Substances (Bulk Petroleum Stores) Regulations, 1979. These typically apply to large and medium sized bulk storage facilities where large quantities of Petroleum Class I are stored, sometimes in conjunction with Petroleum Class II and/or III, for subsequent delivery to retail petrol stations.

Application forms are available on request from:

Fire Section Limerick City and County Council

Phone : +353 61 556270 

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Petroleum Legislation

Amendments to Dangerous Substances (Retail & Private Petroleum Stores):

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Petrol Vapour Recovery Requirements

If you are a petrol station owner/operator you are obliged to ensure that your facility is so designed and operated in accordance with the Third Schedule of Air Pollution Act 1987 - Petroleum Vapour Emissions Regulations S.I. 375/1997. Click here for more. 

The objective of the regulations is to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the atmosphere from vehicle re-fuelling activities at service stations, in order to reduce the adverse impact of VOC on human health and the environment. 

Petrol contains VOC, carbon-based chemicals that evaporate readily into the atmosphere. Once emitted to air, VOC are associated with several health and environmental problems:

  • Formation of ground-level ozone and photochemical smog
  • Poor local air quality (benzene in air)
  • Atmospheric warming and climate change

To meet the requirements of the regulations a service station owner/operator is obliged to appoint an approved assessor who will carry out tests on their petrol station and submit a report and fee to the Council. If the Council is satisfied with the report it will issue a certificate of compliance with the above act. Certificates of compliance last a maximum of three years, and need renewal on expiry.

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Petrol Interceptor / Oil Separator

Regulation 15 of the Dangerous Substances (Retail & Private Stores) Regulations 1979-2011 outlines requirements for Petrol Interceptors / Oil Separators.

Historically an interceptor was an interconnected 3-chamber unit. The licensing authority will generally accept designs according to a functional class determined by IS EN 858-2 and performance criteria as determined by IS EN 858-1 as meeting the requirements of Regulation 15(4).

A dedicated interceptor/separator is required to process the run-off from forecourt and/or bulk delivery tanker hard stand area. The chosen separator must have an oil/petroleum retention capacity for the spillage risk in the designated coverage area.

If the interceptor/separator is for use in the forecourt dispensing area only, an oil/petrol retention capacity comparable to the maximum amount of product that is likely to be spilled (usually the maximum that can be dispensed in a single retail transaction) would be sufficient.

If it is designed to cover the dispensing and tanker hard-stand areas, then it must be sized to fully retain the worst case scenario of the catastrophic failure of a petroleum storage compartment (usually in the range 5000 to 7000 litres) on a bulk delivery tanker. The pass-through waste water capacity is based on the peak rainfall falling on the designated surface area.

As one of the intended functions of a petrol separator is to retain a Class I petroleum spillage, it would in such circumstances in fact be a temporary underground petrol storage tank. Therefore, a petrol interceptor must be installed and surrounded with secondary containment (concrete vault/encasement) and be provided with petrol vapour vent management.

Under no circumstances should the waste water from a vehicle wash be directed into a petrol separator. Vehicle wash waste water must be processed separately in keeping with the effluent requirements of the overall site.

As well as meeting the regulatory requirements, a properly sized and maintained interceptor can reduce the risk of subsequent pollution in the event of an incident. In fact a poorly maintained interceptor may be interpreted as providing a risk to the surrounding groundwater and may be the cause of the initiation of legal proceedings under the Water Pollution Act 1997 & 2000 quite separate from any sanctions that may arise from a proven breach of the Dangerous Substances Regulations and deemed to be an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act 1972. 

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This service is provided by

Fire and Emergency Services Department

Phone +353 61 556859
Limerick City and County Council, Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick, V94 WV78