Kennebunkport Wastewater Treatment Plant officials last week were still trying to determine the source of a leak of fuel oil that made its way from the sewer system to the plant on Nov. 18. Town of Kenenbunkport Photo

KENNEBUNKPORT — Officials from the town’s wastewater treatment plant are continuing to try and trace the source of a leak of what they believe to be heating oil that made its way to the plant through the sewer system in November.

Kennebunkport Public Works Deputy Director Chris Simeoni said the location has been narrowed to the Dock Square area but as of Dec. 4, the specific location had not been determined.

Wastewater plant personnel first noticed something was amiss on Nov. 18 when they detected an odor of what smelled like fuel oil in the aeration tank. Then they noticed what appeared to be red dye.

Simeoni said the dye material was sent to a laboratory to be tested, and the town is awaiting results, but they believe it is No. 2 heating oil, which is dyed to distinguish it from diesel fuel. The dyed fuel is not taxable, but the unmarked fuel is taxed.

It is nearly impossible to determine how much fuel seeped into the sewer system, but Simeoni said no more was received at the plant after Nov. 18.

Simeoni said when the material was noticed, a call went out to the Department of Environmental Protection and crews implemented clean up procedures at the plant.


Then the DEP representative and Simeoni went door to door, trying to track down the source.

“It’s a hard thing to nail down,” said Simeoni, pointing out that some homes and businesses in the Dock Square area are vacant this time of year. “Our concern was that a heating oil tank failed (and the fuel) made it to a sump hole and into our system.”

He said the quest to locate the source continues.

“We’re keeping the public informed and still trying to follow up with other properties,” trying to get in touch with owners of vacant buildings, he said. “We don’t want to sound punitive. There is an insurance program in place for the agency and resources to help with cleanup.”

A notice on the town’s website states that Kennebunkport is asking that residents and businesses check their heating oil tanks and lines for signs of leakage, and to contact Kennebunkport Wastewater Treatment Plant at 967-2245 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. if a leak is found. Notification after 3 p.m. can be made to the Kennebunkport Communications Department at 967-2454.

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