A backhoe digs out a section of soil at Hollywood School in Brookfield earlier this month to remove leaking pipes once connected to an underground tank that stored heating oil. The tank was removed in 1990, but the pipes were abandoned in place. (Provided)
These pipes, removed from the ground earlier this month, were what remained of an underground oil storage tank at Hollywood School. (Provided)

A potential costly soil remediation project at Hollywood School in Brookfield has been averted with the Illinois Fire Marshal concluding the site needs no further remediation after removal of some abandoned underground pipes earlier this month.

While school officials believed they might have to wait much longer, possibly until next spring, before they could deal with what was suspected to be a leaking underground heating oil tank just outside the school walls, Riverside School District 96 was able to obtain permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency much more quickly.

It turned out that the 6,000-gallon oil tank had actually been removed in 1990, but three pipes that connected it to an old heating plant were left abandoned in the ground. Those pipes did contain some oil, which had leaked into the soil, but soil testing, done under the supervision of the state fire marshal, determined that the soil was not widely contaminated.

“The ultimate result in that everything they tested came up within normal parameters, which is want we want,” said District 96 school board member Joel Marhoul, who chairs the school board’s facilities committee.

Playground set for September completion

The new playground at Hollywood School is expected to be completed next month. The playground equipment is expected to arrive during the first week of September and once the equipment arrives it should take about one week to install, said Ramesh Nair, the owner’s representative for Riverside Elementary School District 96, who is overseeing the district’s construction project. 

Nair said that the new multipurpose room that is being added on to the back of Hollywood School now may not be finished until October due to delays in getting materials. 

The COVID pandemic, which has disrupted supply chains and delayed shipments around the world, is impacting the Hollywood project, Nair said.

Construction has been delayed while waiting for the arrival of eight to 10 crucial elements of the addition. One of those is coming from Germany.

“Material supplies [delays] is what’s really killing us right now,” Nair said. “You get one thing, you don’t get the other, but you can’t put the first one in without the second and it’s like a chain reaction.” 

However, Hollywood School will open on time on Aug. 25 with rest of the building being ready to use. The completion of the multipurpose room should not be too disruptive, because all the site work is completed with the removal of the underground pipes.

Central School work wraps up

Summer work at Central School in Riverside has been completed. A new fire sprinkler system was installed, replacing the decayed and outmoded system that had been in place. 

The only complication was that a large valve that connects Central’s sprinkler system to the sprinkler system at L.J. Hauser Junior High School had to be replaced. The new valve cost about $10,000. 

However, once final costs are calculated and all bills paid, the Central School project is expected to come in under its $100,000 budget, and some of the money in the project’s contingency fund will be returned to the district reserves.