September 12, 2013


Dryden contends with contaminated soil

High school parking lot project unearths leaking 1,000 gallon oil tank

DrydenBob Ellis/staff photographer
An excavator pushes stone around a large hole in front of the Dryden Middle-High School Wednesday morning. A large fuel tank was removed from the site.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — The school district has removed a leaking 1,000 gallon oil tank buried in front of the high school that was uncovered during a parking lot project at the high school.
The board of education voted Monday night to spend up to $250,000 for the remediation of the site, which encompassed a large area of contaminated soil.
“It was in the way of construction, so it had to be taken out,” said Brian Judd, a project manager at Smith Site Development, a Whitney Point-based construction company working on the project. “We noticed it was an old oil tank, so we had to follow proper procedures.”
Site testing indicated the tank was leaking oil into the surrounding area.
Judd said that the removal of the tank and all of the affected soil took five days.
The tank was likely associated with an old farmhouse that originally rested on the site. Used for a time as Dryden’s district office, the house was demolished via a controlled burn conducted by the Dryden Fire Department at some point in the late 1990s, said Dryden Superintendent of Schools Sandy Sherwood.
“I heard an estimate it had been leaking for at least 30 years,” Judd said. “Though that’s really just conjecture.”
Removing soil is expensive, said Sherwood, who estimated that the cost of removal of the oil tank and the over 1,700 tons of soil had already totaled $165,000.
“You need special licenses and it needs to be handled in a special way,” she said.
The contaminated soil was transported to the Broome County Landfill.
The removal and filling processes will be classified as a separate, emergency project by Dryden, 85 percent of which will be covered by state aid.
Sherwood and Dryden’s Board of Education were notified Monday night that soil tests from the state Department of Environmental Conservation had come back negative, giving them and Smith Site Development the go ahead to start filling the hole back in.
“We’re at a point where we have to bring in a lot of material to set that area back to solid ground,” said Judd, who estimated that it will take four to five days to fill the hole, and at least another two weeks to complete the parking lot.
Sherwood said the unanticipated oil tank has set back construction at least a month, and has been, “an absolute pain.”
As far as hazardous material cleanup projects go, Judd said the project had gone just about as well as it could have.
“It was very smooth,” said Judd.


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