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100 Gallons of Heating Oil Leaks out of Senior Center

About 100 gallons of heating oil leaked from the Darien Senior Center and was carried by a nearby brook for about a mile, where a town resident reported the suspicious smell to police.

Darien Senior Center (Patch file photo)
Darien Senior Center (Patch file photo)
When a Dubois Street resident reported the  smell of heating oil coming from a nearby brook, authorities traced it upstream to the Darien Senior Center, where about 100 gallons had leaked from a faulty pipe.

All but about 10 gallons of the heating oil was gathered up by a contractor hired by the town. Workers for the contractor put down absorbent booms and pads to gather and soak up the oil. The rest of it should dissipate and not pose an environmental problem, said Deputy Fire Marshall Marc McEwan.

Darien police and McEwan gave this account of the incident:

At 9:18 a.m. on Sunday, a Dubois Street resident told police about the smell. There was a noticeable sheen on the surface of the brook, and both the town fire marshal and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were notified.

Authorities began following the little, steady brook upstream (north) to try to find the source of the heating oil.

They saw the sheen on Maple Avenue, but from there the brook flowed through underground piping beneath Interstate 95 (where most pollution in the brook seems to come from) and the commercial land around Stop & Shop on Heights Road.

The brook runs near McGuane Field and Edgerton Road until it gets to the Darien Senior Center, where authorities found a small pipe, about as big as an adult finger, that brings heating oil into the furnace, which was off. The pipe (or joints around it) leaked.

A 4,000-gallon heating oil tank is at the former school building, but the leak wasn't coming from it, according to McEwan. The heating oil appeared to have left the building through drains to a sump pump, which was full of the oil.

Some residents who live along the brook told authorities that they had noticed the odor of heating oil for a couple of days, McEwan said.

McEwan recommends to town residents that in the future they shouldn't hesitate to tell authorities when they definitely smell something suspicious or seemngly unhealthful.

In other words (not words that McEwan used): If you smell something, say something.
M_White December 06, 2013 at 02:18 AM
There are several parts of this story I do not believe. 100 gallons were spilled and 90 of those gallons were recovered? Baloney! The story says the oil had been leaking for days. Say the stream flows at about 1 mph. After three hours the oil was already in the Sound. After several days? You kidding me? A ton of oil would be in the Sound and out to sea. Were the absorbent booms at pads placed in the Atlantic Ocean?? And how does anyone know it was only 100 gallons? It's a leak. There's no meter on the leak. Who knows how much oil the tank had in it a few days ago when the leak started? No one can say with certainty it was 100 gallons. I call bull sh*t. I think this is a classic case of trying to blow smoke up the public's ass. Patch editor, I hope you will pressure those responsible for more information.
max December 07, 2013 at 12:28 PM
M white, nice work. I wish out local editors did a little thinking on their own instead of posing as publishers of press releases. Also, what I find odd is trust the oil to the furnace was turned off? I understand turning down the thermostat while closed, but shutting the oil off in late November? Maybe they were hoping for frozen pipes in order to get someone some more work before moving to their new money pit at town hall.

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