New Milford approves vendor to replace one fuel tank
NEW MILFORD — The school board has approved the vendor to replace one of the three fuel tanks that are about to reach a state-mandated deadline for replacement.
Hill and Plain Elementary School’s fuel tank will be replaced by ETT Environmental Services for $92,000 over the summer. The board approved having school officials place the order, but will determine how to cover the cost next month when it has a better idea of its end-of-year financial position.
The order needs to be placed now because it takes about 10 to 12 weeks for it to arrive and another two weeks to install it. Hill and Plain is the first of the three tanks to be replaced because it needs to be installed before the cold weather arrives as it is the only one that solely heats the building.
“If the installation doesn’t happen before the heating season, we can’t have school at Hill and Plain,” Superintendent of schools Joshua Smith said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
The board tabled awarding the bid for the Sarah Noble Intermediate School until June when they expect more financial information and can speak with the town.
The tank for Sarah Noble is not under a cold-weather deadline because the building is heated with natural gas and the fuel tank is used more to power the generator, which comes into play if the town needs an emergency shelter.
“If this is an emergency shelter, let Town Council pay for it,” said board member Joseph Failla, who opposed the bid for Hill and Plain.
The Lillis Building, which houses central office, was not included because the future of the building is under discussion, Smith said.
Town Council has considered selling it and a developer is interested in purchasing it to turn it into an affordable-housing complex.
The schools discovered they needed to replace three 10,000-gallon fuel tanks last fall after pulling permits to add check valves.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection requires fuel tanks be replaced when they reach 30 years old — a deadline established by the manufacturers and enforced by the state. If a tank is left in the ground after this deadline, the owner is charged a $10,000 fine for each tank and a daily fine until it is removed.
This means, New Milford must complete the work this calendar year.
Oil tanks were installed at Sarah Noble and Hill and Plain in 1989. The installation date for the oil tank at the Lillis Building is unknown, but the tank is estimated to be at least 25 years old and will be included in the replacement.
The town had discussed including three of its tanks in the replacement effort so it could borrow for all six tanks together, but school officials said the town told them that was no longer possible.