PARIS — SAD 17 officials expect to receive engineering plans for above-ground oil tank spill prevention for five district school buildings within the next several weeks.

In a letter dated May 19 to Paris Town Manager Amy Bernard, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said the engineering plans for the Paris Elementary School will be forwarded to her for review by selectmen.

Following the major oil spill at the Hebron Station School in late December and subsequent inspections of all above-ground school oil tanks, Paris officials had expressed concern that a collapse or spill of oil from the Paris school oil tank could pose a threat to the town’s drinking water supply.

The concern was caused by an inspection report that, in part, showed severe corrosion to the tank’s support legs.

The corrosion was found to not be an immediate threat to to the integrity of the boiler. Engineers have made recommendations to ensure the tank’s longevity, such as lifting the tank higher.

In his letter, Colpitts told Bernard that Sebago Technics Inc. visited five of the school district buildings with above-ground storage tanks to develop a spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan.

The plan was recommended by the Department of Environmental Protection following the spill of more than 1,100 gallons of heating oil at Hebron Station School. Cleanup of that spill is ongoing.

Over April vacation, Colpitts said Clean Harbors pumped out, degassed and cleaned the Paris school oil tank and an exterior and interior evaluation was conducted. The report indicated there was some interior corrosion of the tank caused by water condensation in the fuel and exterior corrosion on the tank legs caused by “blow back” of the boiler water.

The report, by Sullivan and Merritt Constructors of Scarborough, stated the tank was only a third into its useful life and it can continue to be used.

Colpitts also told Bernard that should the district continue to use the oil tank as the school’s source of heat, some concerns will have to be addressed such as leveling and draining the spill box, installing an overfill audible alarm, relocating the vent pipe and raising the tank legs. School officials are now getting prices for the upgrades.

An application has also been made to the Maine Municipal Bond Bank for a Quality Energy Conservation Bond Allocation that, if approved, could replace the oil tank with a pellet/propane boiler at the school.

Bernard is expected to share the information with selectmen at their next meeting.

Meanwhile, oil collection in the wetlands surrounding the Hebron Station School continues.

DEP spokeswoman Jessamine Logan said Tuesday that the department is still collecting oil in the wetlands at Hebron Station School and changing the sorbent pads twice a week.

“The collection rate was three times a week but we need more time for the pads to collect the oil,” she said, adding that indoor and outdoor air quality continues to be safe as the process continues.

Areas of dead grass will be reseeded, she said.

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