Like other tank farms that handle fuels, there were basic process safety and environmental protection protocols in place. Each cluster of tanks had a concrete bund surrounding it, designed to keep fuel within its walls should there be a rupture or other tank leak.
There were also two water-filled lagoons on the site, and the smaller one on the west side provided feed to a fire fighting system.
At 6:50 pm on Saturday, December 10, 2005, Buncefield began receiving a load of unleaded gasoline via the south pipeline which was directed to tank 912, the middle tank in a cluster of three within a common bund on the western edge of the site. Each tank in the group could handle 6 million liters.