The clock is ticking to replace and upgrade the oil tanks at Darien schools following a citation from the state Department of Environmental and Energy protection last year.

The Board of Education approved the $513,000 plans for the oil tanks repairs and upgrades at its Tuesday, Feb. 26, meeting.

Last year, the Board of Education hired Aaron Petroleum Services to inspect the oil tanks at the schools.

When the company found problems with the tanks, they were submitted to the DEEP, which then issued the citation.

The board responded to the citation and hired Silver/Petrucelli Associates, an engineering firm that specializes in underground storage tanks, to design the new plan and specifications, which were presented to the board at its meeting, according to Richard Huot, Darien Public Schools' director of finance.

The tanks now at the schools are double-walled and made of steel, and are equipped with monitors that can identify if there has been a leak from the inside or the outside, Huot said.

Additionally, the tanks are equipped with sacrificial anodes, which are used to prevent other materials, such as the steel tanks, from deteriorating, extending their life.

"When the tanks were tested, none of the monitoring equipment was functioning correctly," Huot said. Fiberglass tanks will replace the steel ones at Holmes, Royle and Ox Ridge elementary schools. Using the fiberglass tanks will eliminate the need for the sacrificial anodes.

At Middlesex and Tokeneke elementary schools, repairing and replacing the monitoring systems will cost $6,500 per project.

The equipment at Tokeneke Elementary School was of a "previous generation," according to Huot. "As long as it's not working, let's update it and make sure it's working," he said.

The estimated $25,000 work at Darien High School will include ensuring the anodes are connected correctly, but the entire monitoring system needs to be changed, Huot said. The tank was installed less than 50 feet from the electrical service entrance and the electric generator is interfering with the monitoring system, which has to be changed entirely.

The oil tank at Hindley Elementary School is being removed completely at an estimated cost of $10,000 because the school uses natural gas.

The tank at the Holmes Elementary School is in need of an upgrade because of the addition that was put onto the school. The cost of the upgrade from a 4,000-gallon tank to a 10,000-gallon tank, as well as all additional work, is an estimated $148,000.

The entire 10,000-gallon oil tank at Ox Ridge Elementary School will be replaced with a one of the same size for an estimated cost of $153,000.

The fire marshal and the Health and Building departments have approved the plans. The board will send the plans to the state for final approval before seeking bids for the work, which is anticipated to be done before April 1.

There is a 10- to 12-week waiting period to get the parts. The work must be completed by the time school starts in the fall.;203-972-4407;

More Information

Fact box