Hebron school gym reopened after oil spill

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HEBRON — Two months after more than 1,500 gallons of fuel oil spilled from a tank at Hebron Station School, school officials have declared the gymnasium open for activity.

“We’re back in the gym,” Superintendent Rick Colpitts said Wednesday.

The oil leaked out of the school basement tank shortly after midnight Dec. 25 as it was being filled by a driver from the C.N. Brown oil company of South Paris.

School officials shut down the school for more than a week, but the gymnasium, which is next to the oil tank room, had remained closed for the past two months as state environmental officials monitored the air quality.

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Colpitts said the gym was opened Wednesday after Maine Department of Environmental Protection officials told school officials that the most recent air-quality tests showed the levels in the gymnasium to be “well below” the safety threshold for students and staff to be in the room all day.

Although the gymnasium’s air-quality levels had always been acceptable, the state had placed restrictions on the gym’s use by anyone who had to be in the room for long periods of time, Colpitts said.

Because the gym teacher would have to be in the room all day, Colpitts said a decision was made not to use the gym until it was completely clear for everyone.

The state will wait until March or April to clean up the remaining oil in the snow and ice in the wooded wetlands surrounding the school.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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