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Zoners Cautious About Fuel Tank for School Buses

In case of an accident or deliberate sabotage, could diesel fuel pollute the local aquifer?

Concerns over pollution of the local aquifer in the event of a spill slowed down consideration of a zoning application for a 5,000 gallon diesel fuel storage tank for the local school bus fleet.

All Star Transportation is seeking permission for the above-ground fuel tank at its school bus parking lot at 31 Pecks Lane in order to facilitate the refueling of its buses.

Bus company president John Dufour told the Planning & Zoning Commission Thursday that the town provides fuel for the school buses in accordance with Newtown’s school transportation contract, but the buses must go next door to the town garage.

However, the buses must wait in line, because police cars, Public Works Department trucks and other town vehicles also fuel up there, he said.

But the school bus parking lot is located over the local aquifer, and while the land use staff advised the commission that the proposed fuel tank wouldn’t negatively affect the aquifer, some of the commissioners wanted more assurance that an accident or a deliberate malicious act wouldn’t cause a spill.

“There’s a lot of gallons here, and today with the threat of terrorism you have to protect the health and safety of the public,” said P&Z member Michael Porco.

Dufour and Hank Berberat, president of Berco Tank LLC, the company that would install the tank, noted that the double-lined fuel tank is the same type that is located at the town garage, which is also over the aquifer.

The commission took no action Thursday, postponing a decision until its next meeting on Nov. 15 when the bus and tank companies will submit additional information about the safety of the tank.

Sam Mihailoff November 08, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Who pays for the tank, installation and liability of any spills this is hardly small print...for years, waiting to be refueled has been acceptable but NOW the Dufours need a special tank...PAY FOR IT YOURSELF DUFOURS. Also who is monitoring any use>>> Last I checked, a Mercedes Diesel did not qualify as a school bus
Richard Hooker November 08, 2012 at 11:38 PM
absolutely NO. So they have to wait in line...big friggin deal. Welcome to the real world.
Island Girl November 09, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Additional expenditure by the town/BOE? I agree, NO. This is an example of additional, incremental, and rising expenditures associated with the decision to switch to All Star that I expected. Disingenuous at best, fraudulent at worst. Schedule in the refueling time at the town garage. "Dufour and Hank Berberat.......that would install the tank", was tank installation sent out to bid? How long was this 'in the works'?
Carey Schierloh November 09, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Twenty years of fueling my bus at the garage, I never had to wait behind the highway dept. And Police dept doesn't use Deisel, they use gas. Different pumps. All the Owner/Operators had their own key to the pumps. When we fueled, we had to put in our mileage. The computer tracked our mileage, and fuel use. The district knew to the gallon, how much fuel each bus used and if it was in line with our mileage/routes which they assigned to us. With this proposal, the BOE will be filling their fuel tank but will no longer be able to track the mileage and fuel usage.
Sue Conrod November 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
This is ridiculous to even consider. They build a fuel tank on land that they don't own, that doesn't have the surveillance cameras that the town garage and the controls in the place that the town garage has. Then we get to fill up their tank for them. Gee, must be difficult to drive 1/4 mile down the road and fill up a school bus. And obviously, we miss the control of seeing what is being fueled, a diesel care or a diesel school bus. And what happens when they have to move the buses someplace else because someone leases the building. Oh, are we going to have to approve building another diesel tank on another area of the aquifer?

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