On Thursday, we noted the importance of preparing well for winter weather.

Reliable home heating systems were mentioned, but a phone call from a local resident Thursday emphasized one facet that we didn’t address — heating oil tanks.

According to the caller, a neighbor’s tank had leaked an estimated 100 gallons of fuel oil, some of which flowed onto the caller’s property, onto the adjacent street and into the storm drain.

As described, the situation highlights the potentially broad effects of a fuel tank leak. The tank owner can be just part of the chain of effects, which quickly can include neighboring properties and the broader community’s environment. The ill-effects, expenses and hard feelings can mount fast.

Fuel tank problems can occur any time of year, but winter’s snow, ice, and temperatures that fluctuate above and below freezing can hasten the point of tank system failure.

So, while you’re getting ready for winter’s arrival, be sure to check your tank system.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has some excellent tips on how to identify potential problems on its “Home Heating Oil Tank Guidance” website at: https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/prevention-preparedness/hho-tanks/.

In addition to inspection points such as tank rust, the condition of fuel lines and connections, tank stability and water intrusion, the website lists the signs of spills and what to do when a spill occurs. It also shows how tanks should be installed if an area is prone to earthquakes and/or floods.

Maintaining your fuel tank is smart. It can help ensure uninterrupted operations of your own home heating system during the winter months — and help avoid a whole lot of problems for you, your neighbors and community.