September 8, 2013

West Bath spill exemplifies how quickly costs mount

DEP officials say the circumstances that led to a $40,000 cleanup aren't unusual in Maine, where the housing stock has grown so old.

By Tux Turkel
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Jo Brillant shows one of the aging oil tanks on her West Bath property that will have to be replaced. The costs of upgrades, combined with an expensive cleanup at another home on her property, climbed to almost $45,000.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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His drivers are trained to look for leaning legs or weeping tanks, and are instructed not to deliver to obvious problems. But it's not unusual to find tanks inside insulated boxes, he said, even though they don't meet code.

"There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people in this state that have done what this lady has done," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said his driver had previously told Brillant to fix the filler neck, but nothing was done. So the driver has carefully been putting just enough fuel in the adjoining tank, so she doesn't run out of heat in the winter.

"It's a judgment call on the driver's part," Wheeler said.

That judgment will no longer be needed this heating season. The DEP plans to replace Brillant's old installation with a 300-gallon fiberglass tank, a new design that won't corrode. The agency also is looking into whether it can eliminate the need for a new tank at Williams' house, and another in Brillant's garage, by converting the remaining heating systems on the property to propane.

Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:


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