Newington to hire private firm to investigate multi-million doll - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newington to hire private firm to investigate multi-million dollar fuel spill

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The site where the oil spill happened in Newington still smells of fumes (WFSB) The site where the oil spill happened in Newington still smells of fumes (WFSB)

The school bus garage near a multi-million dollar fuel spill in Newington has been demolished.

That’s just some of the progress being made as the 19,000-gallon diesel fuel spill gets cleaned up.

So far 13,000 tons of contaminated soil has been removed.

There's still some left to go before the holes get refilled, but the question so many taxpayers have is why did this happen and who is responsible.

The town of Newington is getting closer to identifying the person who dropped the ball, by failing to inspect a leaking fuel tank for at least a year.

That egregious error comes with a clean up cost that's expected to be in the millions.

On Wednesday, Channel 3 learned that the town council is holding a special meeting on Thursday to hire a private investigation firm.

“To look into why, who is responsible, how it happened and to go forward and make sure this doesn't happen again,” said Carol Anest, town council majority leader.

“I think that's going to give us some piece of mind and I think a lot of people do want to know,” said Carlie Fisher, of Newington.

On Wednesday, the board of education, which is responsible for the tanks, held a meeting of its own, delivering an update on the status of the cleanup.

Right now, the bus garage has been demolished, booms to catch oil have been placed along Mill Brook, and tons of soil continues to be removed.

An independent expert explains what else has been happening that's not visible to the naked eye.

“We've got a couple of areas where we're still polishing up and sometimes those take more work than the first part of the project,” said Michael Zaliznock, the lead environmental professional.

He said the soil removal should last another week before the huge holes along Garfield Street get refilled.

The environmental monitoring will last another year, with checks happening at least once every three months.

“The groundwater is residing in that area where the fuel was and we'll be looking for any contamination that could be moving off site especially towards the brook,” Zaliznock said.

The cleanup comes with a cost and on Wednesday night the board of education voted to transfer another $74,000 from improvement projects to pay for the cleanup. This is on top of the $875,000 they transferred a few weeks ago.

They also voted to take half a million dollars from the renovations to John Wallace Middle School, but the town council will need to approve that.
Again, taxpayers are expected to get some answers soon. Officials say the cleanup is moving along rather quickly, they say no environmental concerns have popped up and the private investigation firm is expected to be hired to get to the bottom of how this happened.

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