Maine DEP Helps Protect Drinking Water Supplies in Bethel, Scarborough With Tank Replacements

November 18, 2011

Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson / 592-0427

-Over the next three weeks, local contractors hired by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will replace at-risk residential tanks that are within the wellhead protection zone-

BETHEL – Drinking water supplies in Bethel and Scarborough and the public who rely on them will be better protected following the completion of a Maine Department of Environmental Protection tank replacement project in those communities.

This week, DEP-contracted L.M. Longley & Son of Norway began cost-free replacement of 10 tanks at homes in Bethel. Replacement of nine tanks in a Scarborough mobile home park by K & J Heating of Gray will begin later this month.

The tanks being replaced are within wellhead protection zones and are considered at-risk of failing by the department, which believes rust and internal corrosion could cause the aged tanks to leak or completely fail, threatening the water supply of the communities they are situated in.

Each tank removed will be replaced with a double-walled tank that will not rust and in the rare case of a leak, feature secondary containment to capture any oil that escapes the primary tank to ensure the protection of public and environmental health. The tanks will also have filter protectors to prevent falling ice and snow from snapping off filters, which leads to leaks.

The DEP receives nearly 3,000 spill calls per year, with more than one a day coming from a residential home heating oil tank, costing Maine taxpayers as much as $2 million in cleanup costs annually. Internal corrosion is the leading cause of discharges from home heating oil tanks, with physical damage mostly from falling ice and snow the second leading cause.

WHAT: Replacement of at-risk home heating fuel tanks within wellhead protection areas in Bethel and Scarborough

WHERE: Private residences in Bethel and Scarborough

WHEN: The Bethel replacements are scheduled most weekdays from now through December 2. The Scarborough replacements are scheduled November 28-December 9.

MEDIA NOTE: We encourage coverage of these tank replacements as they occur over the coming weeks as it is another reminder to the public of the importance of home heating oil tank health for ensuring the protection of Mainers’ investment in their fuel, as well as the health of their environment, their family and their property values. If you are interested in doing a story in either Bethel or Scarborough, please contact DEP spokesperson Samantha DePoy-Warren at 592-0427 to coordinate coverage within your schedule.