The news regarding a fuel oil spill in 1980 at DePaolo Middle School wasn’t unexpected, but it was not what officials were hoping to hear.
Tests conducted by Hygenix, Inc., last weekend determined that #4 fuel oil from a 5,000-gallon leak in the oil tank that occurred in 1980 still remained within the ground water in the soil surrounding the tank. The soil must be remediated, Southington officials said, and efforts to do so will begin immediately.
“It’s not a surprise,” Middle School Building Committee Chairman Edward Pocock Jr. said Tuesday night. “We were optimistic that it would have been cleaned up properly when should have been, but obviously that wasn’t the case.”
“The issue now lies in monitoring the situation to make sure more remediation isn’t needed once it is pumped out (this weekend),” he said.
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The latest news comes after officials discovered in early September that an undocumented oil spill at the school might not have been properly addressed. There were limited documents to even allow officials to discover there was a spill said James Twitchell, a project manager for Hygenix. Twichell said the documents were limited to a state notification of tank replacement and a Southington Fire Department basic leak report.
Now the estimates are back for remediation and early efforts are reasonable, but still come at a fairly considerable cost.
According to a Hygenix report released to the Middle School Building Committee early Tuesday afternoon, the remediation will take two to three days and involves the rental of a vacuum truck and operator at $137 per hour, $0.68 cents per gallon for purged oil/water mix, $85 per hour for a field technician, $75 per day for a water level meter and $85 per day for a Hygenix company vehicle.
There are numerous one time costs and future costs associated with monitoring the situation, as detailed in the PDF provided above.
“Tonight, we signed the contract. The work will be done next weekend with the holiday,” Pocock said. “The vehicles can get loud and it’s not something we want to do with students in the school.”
Pocock said that the committee and Hygenix are both hopeful that the pumping will put an end to the problem, but noted that they won’t know for several weeks when they test to see if the issue returns.
The building committee also has it’s hands full waiting for further tests to determine the extent of remediation that will be needed to address PCBs in both schools, with levels very high in some areas as detailed in a report last week.
The schools remain safe, however, as no PCBs or asbestos were discovered in multiple air samples taken at both DePaolo and Kennedy Middle School.
“We aren’t hiding anything and we aren’t going to hide anything. Safety remains our top priority,” Pocock said. “These issues are something that just wasn’t taken care of in the past. That’s not something we can go back and change, so we addressing it now. There is no option to ‘work around’ this.”
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