HEBRON — Despite warm temperatures and melting snow, the heating oil contained in snow and ice in the wetlands surrounding Hebron Station School remained intact over the weekend, according to Department of Environmental Protection officials.
Jessamine D. Logan, DEP director of communications, said Monday that the weather was not warm enough long enough to cause any of the estimated 1,100 gallons of oil in the wetlands to shift.
“We are continuing to monitor the site and changing out absorbent pads as necessary,” she said.
The state will wait until March or April to clean up remaining fuel in the snow and ice in the wooded wetlands surrounding the school.
More than 1,500 gallons 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 previously estimated the amount of spilled oil at 1,900 gallons.
Last month, Sheryl Bernard, head of the Department of Environmental Protection’s response team at the school, said 192 gallons were recovered from the wetlands by absorbent pads and most of the rest has been captured in ice and snow. Since that time, a limited amount of oil continues to be absorbed in the pads.
Bernard said last month that the oil will be easier to collect when it is flowing on the water, rather than trying to dig it out of the snow and ice.
During the holiday break in December, maintenance workers at the Hebron school asked C.N. Brown to fill the oil tank because the fuel gauge showed it was running low. An oil truck arrived Dec. 25 and pumped in about 160 gallons before a whistle that indicates there is space in the tank stopped blowing. The fuel gauge continued to read empty so the driver decided to continue pumping, SAD 17 officials said.
Officials later determined the problem was in a vacuum air leak in the tank gauge.
Oil overflowed and sprayed out of several parts of the tank, covering the floor of the tank room under the school with about a foot of oil.
School officials were assured by C.N. Brown that someone would be back to pump it out immediately, but they said that never happened. The room, which was thought to be a containment room, emptied of oil within six hours and was found that way by school maintenance workers.
Students and staff were not let back into the building for more than a week after the accident.