Oil tank survey falls short

The Wilton Health Department’s  townwide survey to garner information on residential home heating oil tanks in the community has fallen far short.

The survey, begun last November on the town’s website, has attracted only 30 responses, said Barry Bogle, the health director.

“There isn’t much that can be concluded from that low number of responses,” Bogle said.

The reasons for such a low number is hard to determine, Bogle said. “It can vary from people not wanting to disclose whether or not they have an oil tank that may or may not be compromised to being unaware of the survey,” he said.

So, he’ll try again in the fall.

“I believe more outreach education will result in a much better response rate this fall,” he said.

Bogle has asked residents with oil tanks to participate in the survey, available on the town website, wiltonct.org, or at the link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PMR2DF3.

The 10-question survey asks participants how many oil tanks they have, how big they are, where are they located, how they are installed, and if they are inspected.

“Recently articles in the local news media covered stories on a number of oil spills,” Bogle said in a statement last fall, including one spill of 500 gallons in a Wilton crawl space last September.

“An oil spill from an underground storage tank (UST) or an aboveground storage tank (AST) occurs in a number of ways — overfilling of the tank by delivery person, equipment problem, crack in the oil tank, feeder lines, filters, fittings in/on the furnace, total failure of an oil tank, etc.,” he said. “Oftentimes these leaks or failures go undetected or are deemed to be minor or inconsequential. However, any such event may cause significant adverse effects to our natural resources. These leaks can be very difficult to remediate and can result in enormous financial expenses.”

Bogle asked residents to prepare for the winter heating season by having a complete inspection of their oil tank and its components when having the boiler and furnace serviced.

“The Wilton Health Department implores those of our residents who use home heating oil to be proactive in the effort to protect our natural resources and property,” he said.