January 18, 2022

Frenchville OKs fuel storage site

FRENCHVILLE — This town has given a Madawaska fuel oil distributor approval this week to construct a 25,000-gallon bulk storage facility along U.S. Route 1, just west of Madawaska.

About a dozen area residents, concerned about the possibility of water contamination and the igniting of a fuel spill, attended a public hearing Tuesday to oppose the plan presented by JSB Energy Inc., a supplier of home heating fuel, diesel fuel and gasoline owned by Larry Beaulieu of Madawaska.

But the Frenchville Planning Board approved Beaulieu’s plan, adding restrictions offered by the state Department of Environmental Protection and local residents, including the installation of a rubberized liner underneath a concrete dike, a catch basin for water overflow from the site, and a canopy over the finished facility.

He also was told to have an engineer on site during construction and to have a safety plan for the facility within three months of operation.

Although construction had begun, the Frenchville code enforcement officer stopped the building 10 days ago because Beaulieu lacked a land use permit from the town.

Beaulieu told Frenchville officials he did not know he needed a local permit because Frenchville does not have a zoning code. He said his plan was approved by the DEP and the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

About 10 homes and apartment buildings are located within 1,000 feet of the facility’s site.

Andre Ouellette, a nearby homeowner, said residents “are not trying to stop him from selling fuel oil. We want to stop a potential hazard.” Ouellette presented the planning board with letters opposing the project and signed by 12 area residents.

Beaulieu told residents, “I will do everything in my power to build the safest site possible.”

The facility will be built on a 12-acre lot Beaulieu purchased in 1989. The lot, approved for a subdivision by the Frenchville Planning Board in 1978, formerly was owned by Robert St. Onge. Homes were never constructed at the site because of poor soils for sewer systems.

Beaulieu owns all of the subdivision except for two lots. Several years ago, Beaulieu operated a building supply store at the site.

The lot Beaulieu is building on, 210 by 208 feet, is the lot nearest to Route 1. An entrance will be constructed from Route 1.

Beaulieu said the single 25,000-gallon tank, separated into three compartments, will hold 15,000 gallons of No. 2 heating fuel, 3,000 gallons of kerosene and 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The tank is 41 feet long and nearly 11 feet high.

The containment area, a 10-inch-thick concrete dike under the tank, will be big enough to hold 27,500 gallons. Beaulieu said the site will be surrounded by fence. Construction plans for the project were done by BR Smith Associates of Presque Isle.

Beaulieu said it will be his only bulk storage facility. He said it was necessary to build it because the state recently told him that he could no longer store fuel in his tanker truck.

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