Toxin Concerns Prompts Relocation of Northport Middle School Students

Northport Middle School (Photo courtesy of Northport-East Northport Union Free School District)

More than 600 Northport Middle School students are being relocated for the rest of the school year starting Thursday while the administration deals with concerns about toxins found in septic tanks on the campus.

The move comes after the school’s environmental firm, PW Grosser Consulting Inc. (PWGC), reported to the school district that soil samples from two different septic systems at Northport Middle School contained elevated levels of benzene that will require further remediation per the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

“It is important to note that preliminary air testing indicated no observable detection of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which includes benzene inside the building, or from the soil samples, as well as at the source of the septic tanks,” Northport School Superintendent Robert Banzer wrote in a letter to parents this weekend. “We realize that this is a substantial undertaking. However, the Board of Education and I firmly believe it is in the best interest of our students and staff to relocate. ”

PWGC has been conducting a comprehensive investigation of environmental conditions at the school, including extensive testing of soil, vapor, indoor air quality, a geophysical survey and testing of the school’s sanitary system and storm water.

Northport Middle School 8th graders will be relocated to the high school, 7th graders will be relocated to East Northport Middle School, and 6th Graders will be relocated to Norwood Avenue Elementary and Bellerose Avenue Elementary School.

Students are off Monday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and were given off Tuesday and Wednesday to help prepare for the transition.