PARIS – A recommendation to replace the oil-fired boiler at Hebron Station School is expected to go before the SAD 17 board of directors for approval as early as Monday, Dec. 15.

The expected recommendation is to purchase a propane boiler. 

SAD 17 directors were told in October that the oil boiler was cracked and leaking. The system was working, but the leak was expected to get worse, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said at the time.

Directors were recently told that after careful consideration of oil, pellet and propane systems, the desire is to go with a three-burner propane boiler system. It would allow two propane burners to be running most of the time and one to be used as a backup, Director Lewis Williams of Hebron said.

Facilities Director Nelson Baillargeon said that despite the success they have had with other schools using pellet boilers, the Hebron Station School, along with the Waterford, Otisfield and Harrison elementary schools, are simply too small to make the use of pellets efficient.

“If we went to pellets, it wouldn’t be a quick enough payback,” Baillargeon said.


Harrison, Waterford and Otisfield will remain on the oil burners for the time being because it is financially more efficient.

Oxford Elementary School is on a pellet system with an oil burner backup, as is the Rowe Elementary School in Norway.

Paris Elementary School is changing from oil to propane and adding a pellet furnace that will go online in January.

Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris has replaced its oil boilers with two propane ones, and Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris has been operating on a wood pellet furnace for several years.

School officials believe the switch to propane from oil would save the district an estimated $11,830 per year, according to an October letter from Colpitts to the board. It would also negate the need to retrofit the oil storage vault in the basement of the school, which failed last December when thousands of gallons of oil seeped into the nearby wetlands.

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