FAIRFIELD — About 200 gallons of heating oil spilled from an outdoor tank at a residence Sunday night, but local firefighters were able to stop it from spreading.

Officials with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection responded to the spill and contracted with the Clean Harbors firm to clean it up.

Fairfield Fire Chief Duane Bickford said the spill occurred because the fuel tank’s oil filter broke off when the ground beneath it shifted and sunk on one end. The Department of Environmental Protection also said accumulating snow was a factor, falling onto the tank’s piping.

Bickford said the incident is a good reminder for the general public.

“This should get other people to look around their tanks,” Bickford said. “It was sitting on cinder blocks. The filter itself should be covered to protect from snow falling off the roof, and the tank should sit on a cement paid or secure patio blocks.”

Fairfield firefighters responded to the spill at a mobile home on Hardwood Lane just after 7:20 p.m. Sunday and left the scene about four hours later.

About 200 gallons of oil had leaked from the 275-gallon tank, according to Samantha DePoy-Warren, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection .

Bickford said some oil had leaked across the front lawn, down a slope, and a small amount had dispersed into a culvert in a nearby ditch. Firefighters contained the oil with absorbent pads, while blocking the culvert in the driveway to stop the flowing water from carrying the oil away.

Clean Harbors returned Monday with a large truck-sized vacuum to suck out oil and contaminated gravel underneath the mobile home, DePoy-Warren said.

“One well is at risk of a contamination, but this may be prevented due to a high water table at this time,” DePoy-Warren said.

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]

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