With the record amount of snow that Maine has seen this year, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) cautions about possible damage to outside heating oil tanks from snow and ice. The fuel filter attached to the bottom fitting of a residential oil storage tank is a weak component and makes a good target for falling and settling  snow to shear off that connection. If this happens, most of the contents of the tank will be released before repairs can be made. These spills can contaminate drinking water wells and surface waters, degrade indoor air quality and require expensive repair or replacement of the tank, not to mention the cost of purchasing replacement fuel.

Falling snow and ice is the second most common cause of releases from home heating oil tanks (internal corrosion is number one). To help prevent this from happening, DEP suggests having a licensed oil technician install a steel filter protector, regularly and carefully clear snow from over and around the tank, remove snow and ice from the roof above to prevent slides and when doing so, be mindful of the tank below.

If a spill does occur, please report it immediately to Maine DEP’s 24-hour oil spill emergency response hotline at 1-800-482-0777.

For more information from DEP about keeping your home heating oil tank safe, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/spills

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.