Maine DEP Helps Give Belfast Homeowners Free Home Heating Oil Tank Upgrade

BELFAST, ME – February 21, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The Belfast Water District in partnership with the Maine Department of Environmental Projection (Maine DEP) and the Maine Drinking Water Program recently completed the first phase of an Oil Tank Replacement Program for homeowners who live in the Belfast Watershed Protection area in Belfast and Swanville.

To date, five aged oil tanks have been replaced at no cost to the homeowners in those two towns using a combination of grant money from Maine DEP and funds that were secured by the water district from the state drinking water program to assist homeowners.

Two more tanks are scheduled to be installed this spring.

The new double-walled tanks are made of thick polyethylene plastic and surrounded by a sheet metal jacket. They will not rust and in the rare case of a leak feature secondary containment to capture any oil that escapes the primary tank.

A Maine law, which became effective in 2009, requires new or replacement home heating oil tanks within the wellhead protection area of a community water supply well be “double wall” or have “secondary containment.” The law aims to prevent spills from corroded home heating oil tanks, broken filters (when snow and ice come off the roof and snap the filter off) and overfills that can contaminate wells to the point of closing them and cost the state in excess of $1 million in cleanup costs each year.

Maine DEP responds to an average of one spill per day from a residential aboveground home heating oil tank, and the number one cause of these spills is internal corrosion, said Peter Moulton, an environmental engineer with the department.

“Wellhead protection is so critical to our communities and cooperation of the homeowners around the wells is so crucial to ensuring they are correctly protected so the district feels that this program is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Belfast Water District Superintendent Keith Pooler.

For more information about the Oil Tank Replacement Program, visit the http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/programs.htm

Contact:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, samantha.depoy-warren (at) maine (dot) gov/(207) 287-5842

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