Oil Incident

oil excavation

Please see information below regarding the oil incident at the Elementary School.  The project is ongoing. The School is on schedule to re-open for the 2021-2022 School Year.  More detailed explanations are available by clicking on the documents at the bottom of the page.

How the oil incident occurred:

  • The School Department rented tents from a contractor in anticipation of the Leicester Schools reopening as COVID-19 quarantine measures were relaxed. One of these tents was installed at the Leicester Elementary School.
  • Workers from the company installed the tent on March 31, 2021. The tents are anchored by 44-inch spikes, one of which punctured an underground oil supply line which feeds the school’s boilers, which are 24 inches underground. 
  • Days after the puncture, School staff detected an oil smell in one of the classrooms and began searching for the source.
  • A small test pit excavation revealed the leak on April 16th.
  • An insurance claim was filed, and the necessary filings with DEP and the Conservation Commission were filed.
  • The School was closed on April 26th, as the order increased as the excavation was expanded.  Work continues to this day.

Current Information:

  • Estimated leak amount: 750 Gallons
  • Estimated cost of remediation: $700,000 - $800,000
  • Insurance coverage limit: $500,000
  • Billing thus far: $371,388.09
  • Other sources of funding beyond insurance limit: Potential claim against tent contractor; School funds.  No general fund transfers or free cash usage are anticipated.


  • Indoor air quality in three rooms near the leak were initially below current DEP twenty-seven (27) year safety standards; remediation measures continue to be administered and indoor air quality testing continues to be done to monitor the levels.
  • All work permitted and observed by Conservation Commission and Mass DEP
  • A Licensed Site Professional (LSP) is onsite and directing clean-up efforts
  • No water quality issues detected in Sargent’s Pond

Supporting Documentation