Project: Middle School Spill


In the middle of a severe winter with several feet of snow on the ground, a heating oil truck inadvertently pumped 2,000 gallons of oil into a sump that was part of a large buried septic leach field. The school was operating and now had no place for their septage.

The spill was discovered days later when the school called to confirm the oil delivery, as the low-level alarm was still active, and the underground storage tank (UST) was manually measured confirming that no product was delivered to that tank.


St.Germain met with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and school officials to develop a game plan to quickly get the leach fields back online.

The team decided that the septage would be pumped temporarily from the sump on a daily basis and discharged at a nearby municipal wastewater treatment plan. St.Germain selected a contractor to excavate the two leach fields that were about 100 feet by 50 feet in size; and oversaw the excavation of 5,000 +/- cubic yards of contaminated soil. All contaminated soil was shipped offsite for later disposal.

Once the majority of soil was removed, St.Germain gridded the excavations and used oleophilic dye testing in the field to determine which portions of the excavation required additional soil removal. The oil penetrated the soil beneath the leach field in an irregular manner with some areas as deep as 9 feet while other areas were clean at a depth of 4 feet.