Concerns raised over plans for 30,000 gallon LP tank

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A plan by Dead River Company to place a 30,000-gallon liquid propane tank on its 161 Portland Road property has both the fire chief and the owner of a nearby nursing home worried about evacuation plans in case of a leak.

The oil and propane supplier is seeking site plan approval from the Bridgton Planning Board to redevelop its bulk petroleum storage plant by removing a garage, unused tanks and loading rack, and installing the 30,000-gallon LP tank in their place. The board, which held an initial meeting on the plan May 5, had scheduled a May 27 public hearing on the plan, but Dead River has requested that it be postponed until a later date.

Fire Chief Glen Garland specifically requested that the plan be subject to a public hearing, which is discretionary by the board. Garland requested onsite cameras that would be accessible to the fire department and dispatch in case the department receives an alarm or call for service.

“My only additional concern is the nursing home across the street” from the Dead River property, Garland wrote to its President, John Yates. “If an evacuation were necessary due to a propane leak, the only access the nursing facility has is Portland Road, which might be very problematic depending on the direction the plume of LP vapors is moving,” he wrote.

David Hicks, who owns Bridgton Health Care at 186 Portland Road, said, “I am firmly against the project, as a gas leak would limit our ability to safely evacuate our residents.” He said a couple of years ago there was a gas leak on the Portland Road that no one could immediately locate, and “We almost had to evacuate all 59 residents in the middle of the night, and it was wintertime.”

Hicks has contacted the state licensing agency to ask if they have ever approved a 30,000 gallon storage tank directly across from a nursing home.

Dead River personnel met with Garland prior to submitting its plans, and agreed to several of his suggestions. Along with the onsite cameras, Garland wants to ensure that there will be no smaller tanks near the 30,000-gallon tank, and that a fence be constructed around the tank with stone landscaping to repel weeds.

The company wants to begin construction this June, and would be continuing the use of the property as an office and petroleum storage facility. LP trucks would deliver propane to the site and transfer it into the 30,000-gallon tank, and then smaller propane delivery trucks would fill up from the larger tank and deliver propane to retail and commercial customers in the area.

The privately-owned company, headquartered in Bangor, has over 70 years of experience in the fuel oil and propane business, and operates locally-managed offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

 

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