WASHINGTON — It's out with the old and in with the new at Washington Community High School.

A 2,000-gallon underground storage tank for diesel fuel that was planted near the James Ashbrook Vocational Building in 1985 was removed to make way for a new 1,500-gallon aboveground tank.

The removal of the nearly emptied old tank and replacement was done last month by low bidder Illinois Oil Marketing Equipment of Pekin for $54,404.

"This project had been on our radar screen since 2015 even though there were no indicators of a leak in the underground tank," said Assistant Superintendent Joe Sander. "The life expectancy of the old tank was 20 to 25 years.

"Luckily, the old tank was in really, really good condition, although there was some inside pitting caused by corrosion. Curt Nelson, our transportation director, and his staff did a great job monitoring the old tank through the years."

Central Illinois' clay-rich soil is always a concern with an underground storage tank, Sander said, because leaks aren't absorbed very well.

Sander said the high school's old underground tank could only be filled to 1,600 gallons because of the limitations of the electronic monitoring system. The new tank can be filled closer to capacity, to about 1,450 gallons.

The high school's 10 yellow full-sized school buses run on diesel fuel, as do several maintenance vehicles.

Having diesel fuel on the high school campus saves money and time, Sander said, because fuel can be purchased in bulk, and bus drivers don't have to drive to gas stations to fill up.

"That diesel fuel tank is quite important for us. I'd say 80% of the year, our big school buses are transporting our students somewhere," Sander said.

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.