Feb 24, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswickers are reminded that large amounts of snow and ice on home heating oil tanks, or snow sliding from roofs, may damage tanks and fuel lines and cause spills that may harm people, animals and the environment.
"I encourage all landowners to remove snow and ice from their home heating oil tanks in order to ensure the safety of the environment and to protect themselves from liabilities that could result in the event of a spill," said Environment Minister Rick Miles. "If a spill occurs, the landowner is responsible for the expensive task of removing any contaminated soil and remediating any contaminated groundwater."
"Landowners who ensure their tanks are clear of snow and ice are protecting themselves and the environment," he said.
Fuel oil spills in residential areas may contaminate drinking water wells, ground water, and soil; foul septic systems, requiring their replacement; cause odours and health problems in the home; and contaminate storm water drains, sewers, drainage ditches and surface water.
Homeowners are liable under the Clean Environment Act for the cleanup of spills from home heating oil tanks on their property. Depending upon the location of a spill, such as near a river, sewage system or well water, the cleanup may cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more. For this reason, it is recommended that system owners or landowners have adequate insurance in case of a spill.
In the event of a spill, residents are advised to immediately call the nearest Department of Environment regional office, listed in the blue pages of the phone directory, for guidance on the cleanup. For reporting spills after-hours, call the Canadian Coast Guard at1-800-565-1633.
More information on the proper maintenance of oil tanks may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Graham, public affairs, Department of Environment, 506-453-3700.