HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Spring Farms Elementary School will remain closed for the next few weeks, according to Southern Huntingdon High School Superintendent Dwayne Northcraft, after a leak of 7,600 gallons of heating fuel Sunday night.
All students will be relocated to the high school and middle school beginning Thursday, Jan. 26 after Tuesday’s teacher in-service day. Wednesday, Jan. 25 will be a flexible instruction day due to the expected snow.
Northcraft said the Department of Environmental Protection’s investigation is staying open to determine exactly where the oil ended up, but so far it has shown no signs of water contamination.
“We think it could be a while until we get back in the building,” Northcraft said. “We don’t want to be using our well because it’s not showing signs of petroleum at this time. So if we start using our well, and pull contaminated water into it, that gets into our onsite sewage treatment plant, and that would really elevate the cost of cleanup.”
He said he’s not sure how much the cleanup will cost, and it depends on what’s below the existing tank, which started being removed on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
“We really don’t know what we’re working or dealing with until they just continue to dig,” Northcraft said. “The tank was installed in 1991, and it’s strapped down. That would indicate there’s concrete under it.”
He said the district filled up the tank on Thursday, Jan. 19 which cost $27,000.
Three Springs Fire Company placed three absorbent water filter socks in a stream in front of the school to test if that water was contaminated with any petroleum-based product, according to Northcraft.
“To date [on Tuesday], those socks haven’t detected any petroleum in the stream,” Northcraft said.
He added any parents who would like to know more about their child’s new classroom can call the district at 814-447-5529 for more information.