State, citing threat of spills, will replace some Scarborough fuel tanks

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SCARBOROUGH — Some mobile home park residents will receive new heating oil tanks in a $27,000 campaign to protect area drinking water.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will replace nine “at-risk” tanks in the Crystal Spring Mobile Home Park on Crystal Lane at no cost to the residents.

A minor fuel oil spill there last December spurred a DEP investigation of the park’s other tanks.

“This needed to be done, and we’re glad the government is stepping up to do something,” said Chris Roberts, who manages the park. “The last thing we want is any kind of problems for the environment.”

A spokeswoman for the DEP said that not only will the project protect the environment by preventing oil leaks, but that the new tanks will increase property values at the park.

“This is a huge benefit for the community,” DEP’s Samantha DePoy-Warren said Friday. “Spills are incredibly costly, both in time and money, to clean up. It could damage the environment, and there are health risks. It also depletes property value.”

According to a DEP press release, the agency receives nearly 3,000 reports of oil spills every year, and about one per day involve residential heating oil tanks. DEP spends about $2 million per year on oil cleanup, the release said.

The DEP hired K&J Heating of Gray for the tank replacements, which will begin Nov. 28. The agency is also paying for new tanks at private homes in Bethel, which are already being installed.

The purchase and installation of the tanks, which runs about $3,000 each, are paid for by the state’s Groundwater Oil Cleanup Fund, a multimillion-dollar account bankrolled by a surcharge on fuel oil sales.

The nine tanks will be replaced with double-walled, rust-resistant containers. The second wall is designed to capture any fuel that could escape the first in the event of a leak. The tanks also have filter protections to keep falling ice or snow from snapping off the filter, which is a common cause of leaks.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will replace nine “at-risk” fuel oil tanks later this month at the Crystal Spring Mobile Home Park in Scarborough. This tank, at the home of Shaun Flaherty, was a DEP replacement installed by the agency a few years ago, Flaherty said.