I am a retired South Portland teacher. Having taught at James Otis Kaler School I experienced first-hand the fumes coming from the oil tanks. The tanks are in close proximity to the school and next to the playgrounds, bordering them on two sides.

At the time (a period of seven years), I didn’t really think about the fumes. However, now knowing these fumes contain carcinogens, I am very concerned about the potential harm which they may cause. At this point, we do not have enough data. It is imperative that we take advantage of the best technology for monitoring and capturing (up to 95%) of these emissions.

Kaler has pre-kindergarten through grade five students. These students are among the most vulnerable of our residents. It is our job to protect them.

This is a statewide issue with tanks in Searsport, Bucksport, Hampden and, soon to be constructed and permitted, two heated asphalt tanks in Bangor.

The state’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is, at present, drafting a bill that will address the air quality issues created by these tanks in South Portland and other tanks around our state. If you have experiences concerning tank emissions, you can email them to [email protected]

Louisa Beckett
South Portland