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.