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Palmerton looks into timeline to replace oil tank at elementary

Published August 10. 2019 06:29AM


Interviews for Palmerton Area School District’s next engineer of record are set for September, and one of the questions on the list will be a realistic timeline for replacement of an oil tank at Towamensing Elementary School.

Palmerton’s school board has been debating whether to wait until it gets a new firm on board to design a new tank or to use Barry Isett and Associates, its most recent engineer.

The current fuel oil tank is 30 years old and underground.

“Right now, we have no way of knowing if it’s leaking or what its condition is,” said Palmerton facilities director Joe Faenza. “We could pull it out tomorrow and it could look brand-new. But, on the other hand, that building has well water, and if it does leak, we could lose that school. It would be a Superfund site.”

After board members learned they could have a new engineer as early as next month, they decided to pose the question during interviews as to how fast a design could get done.

“It’s basically a crapshoot at this point when it comes to the condition of the tank, but it comes with an expiration date and we are there,” Kate Baumgardt, board president, said during Tuesday’s board workshop.

Faenza is recommending a new aboveground, 10,000-gallon double-walled tank with spill containment. Barry Isett’s estimate for the replacement tank and removal of the old one is between $200,000 and $250,000 based on projects they have previously designed.

Director Earl Paules questioned that amount, saying through his own investigation and prices he received, he didn’t believe it would cost that much.

“It just seems that when we say a number like $250,000, we always seem to get there,” Paules said.

According to Faenza, all of Palmerton’s recent projects have come in under budget.


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