Pilot Rock Elementary School is closed Monday and Tuesday because of an oil leak in the building as officials worked to sop up the estimated 8-10 gallons of oil that seeped into the school.
Steve Staniak, the elementary school principal and superintendent of the Pilot Rock School District, said a school custodian arrived at the building early Monday morning and noticed a strong oil smell.
Staff discovered oil coming from the boiler room, and with Staniak fearing it could be a health hazard, he closed the school for the day.
Staniak said he was bringing in Eastern Oregon Environmental Recovery to clean the spill and professionally assess the situation.
The current operating theory, according to Staniak, is that a pipe running from the boiler room to a decommissioned tank underneath the school parking lot is leaking into the building. Eastern Oregon Environmental Recover will spend Tuesday digging into ground to find the tank, which hasn’t been in use in about 40 years.
Staniak said the elementary school will remain closed on Tuesday while air quality tests are performed. Students will not have to make up the days they missed because Pilot Rock is on track to come in well above the state’s minimum number of instructional hours, he said.
The oil leak didn’t affect the high school, which is operating on normal hours.