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Advice please concerning a neighbour's leaking outdoor boiler

  • 06-04-2024 8:40pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2

    Hello everyone,

    I live in a 2 bed terraced bungalow. My neighbour on one side has a 25 year old outdoor oil fired boiler. I sleep at the back of my house. My window is approximately 20ft from his boiler which is located close to and parallel with a 4ft wall that provides a rear boundary between our two properties.

    There have been one recent and one previous kerosene leak from either the boiler or the pipe network that runs to and from the boiler itself. My neighbour employed the services of a technician to address the first issue but my attempt at a calm conversation the second time around was greeted with a lot of anger and his front door being closed in my face. The problem was addressed two days later.

    Given that we are no longer on speaking terms and the potential consequent issues of an ageing boiler and kerosene fumes coming through my bedroom window, I'm left in a bit of a dilemma: what do I do if it happens again ? Anyone out there with any good ideas or sound practical advice? I'm looking for something beyond the temptation to suggest the Council. I've very little faith in the Council having sufficient clout, real teeth, to enforce whatever law or guideline is out there. We do a lot of talking in this country but don't possess real power to legally follow through with prosecutions. Maybe that's a bit harsh on my part.

    This is what I've done so far - I rang the Environmental Protection Agency, the Dublin section, but they don't reach out to private, domestic situations, it's more corporate and industrial. I kind of suspected this to be the case anyway. My solicitor wasn't able to help either with advice unfortunately. His brief doesn't cover this subject of pollution on a domestic level and nobody else in the law firm has experience of this scenario either.

    So .… members of the community out there - what do you think? Is there anyone with a similar experience? I'd really appreciate your feedback and help on this one. It just keeps niggling me like a little worm in my brain !

    Many thanks and thanks for reading down to this point. It's a pretty lengthy question I know !

    Post edited by Spuddies on


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,360 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    I think you may be concerned with an issue that doesn’t exist at the present time.

    The fact that the boiler is 25 years old doesn’t equate to an exponential increase in the risk of an oil leak. The fact that a technician has attended to the boiler would (I would hope) mean that the components which could give rise to a fuel leak have been repaired/replaced. It would also clearly be in the owners interests for any loss of oil to be stopped.

    So I would say leave it be unless there is evidence of an issue being actually present.

    Whilst the EPA may be primarily concerned with licensed sites which are under their inspection regime, they are have a statutory responsibility in the event of a more generalised environmental pollution incident which a significant kerosene spill could well amount to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2 Spuddies

    Hello there,

    Thanks indeed for coming back to me with your reply. I think you're right, there is no clear and present danger so to speak and therefore it's not a problem in the here and now.

    I'd feel better prepared, though, were I to know, with confidence, how to respond were a kerosene leak to occur again and that the law, whatever law, can and would be enforced, if necessary, should a written warning, presumably from the Council, receive no positive response.

    This, of course, could all be considered much ado about nothing and a storm in a tea cup and that would be a fair comment were my neighbour and myself on speaking terms but we're not and approaching him again, under any pretext - especially to discuss an oil leak ! - may not be a wise remedy for either of our blood pressures .... !

    Thanks again for your input.