Springs School to Dig to Assess Septic Fix

The Springs School Board has decided to tear up the asphalt covering a play area in order to "assess what is going on with our [septic] system, as well as determine what the dollar amount will be for repairs," Superintendent Debra Winter announced this morning at a special meeting of the board.

The school's septic system has been non-functioning since April and has had to be pumped out every 10 days.

Its architect of record, BBS Architects and Engineers, and Laser Industries, an excavation and clearing company, will begin excavating leaching pools on Tuesday, starting, said Ms. Winter, "with pools closest to the school."

Preliminary assessments performed by BBS and Lombardo Associates, an environmental consulting and engineering firm called in to assess the issue, found that several pools marked on the original site map can no longer be located.

Laser Industries is on the county list as recommended excavators and has worked on the Sag Harbor schools, according to Michael Henery, the school’s business administrator. They "come in like gangbusters" to open up the area to make an assessment, "then leave it looking better than before," Mr. Henery said.

"They have promised to do it in the least costly manner," Ms. Winter said. According to the school's attorney, the work is considered "an ordinary contingent expense and should not exceed $130,000."

If excavation results indeed prove that the school has a failed system, Ms. Winter said the course of action would be to "close it up and continue pumping until we get all the right approvals and permits."

Kim Shaw, East Hampton Town's environmental protection director, who was at the meeting, expressed dismay at the board's decision. "By definition, their system has already failed," she said. "Suffolk County's guidelines state that if you are pumping weekly, the system has failed. I understand that they feel the need to be cautious, but I hope they don't go over $130,000 only to determine they need to keep pumping, which is something they are not supposed to be doing."

New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., will be at the Springs School on Monday at 3 p.m. to learn first-hand about the septic system issues and the school's pending capital improvement project.

Correction: This has been edited and a headline changed to clarify that school officials intend to excavate under an asphalt play area, not the play area and a driveway. In addition, a quote in the original version of this article was incorrectly attributed to the superintendent, rather than the district's business administrator.