Forum on the Hebron oil spill scheduled for tonight


HEBRON— Hebron parents will have another opportunity to discuss concerns surrounding December’s oil spill at Hebron Station School in a second forum scheduled for Jan. 30 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the elementary school on 884 Station Road.

At the meeting members of the public will receive updated information from DEP and school regarding the oil spill, and have a chance to ask officials about ongoing cleanup efforts, according to SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts.

At the previous meeting Jan. 14, hazardous spills and contamination responder Sheryl Bernard, on-site at the school since Dec. 27, discussed the extent of the contamination, safety for students and staff, and steps taken to remove the oil.

At the meeting, state toxicologists and hydrologists stated that the school’s well was not contaminated by the spill, but to ensure the well’s future safety the DEP would install a water filtration hooked to the well and continually monitor it.

Last month’s oil spill leaked 1,900 gallons of oil from a tank situation beneath the school where it pooled into the ground. The spill caused classes at the school to be canceled for more than a week over air and water quality concerns.

After water and air tests returned showing no contamination in the school’s well, students returned to class on Jan. 13. The school’s gymnasium, situated directly above the oil tank room, remained closed longer pending additional tests.

Initially, Maine DEP officials believed the oil pooled beneath the school were it remained. DEP officials delved a trough into the concrete flooring surrounding the tank in the hopes to pump out the oil.

On Jan. 23, however, DEP spokesperson Jessamine Logan confirmed that the oil was moving toward nearby wetlands. It was unsure the exact amount of oil that might be present in the wetlands, though Logan suggested the majority had migrated.

Cold weather and snow have hampered the cleanup effort. Environmental pads placed in the wetlands to soak up oil are being changed daily, Logan said, however most of the oil is below ground, preventing crews from locating it.