AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine officials are urging residents to be careful when filling their home heating oil tanks this fall to avoid spills.

The department says home heating oil spills are the most common spill it has to respond to and can be prevented.

It says the three most common causes of spills are internal corrosion, overfilling the tank and damage from things like snow and ice.

The department recommends having licensed technicians perform ultrasonic thickness tests on tanks to see if they have deteriorated. Technicians can also install filter protectors and vent whistles to prevent residents from overfilling tanks.

About 400,000 Maine homes use fuel oil to heat their homes. The state spends up to $2 million every year to clean up spills, which can contaminate drinking water and lower property values.

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