CUMTD faces repairs on fuel tanks failing to meet state requirements

By Brittney Foreman

After a recent visit from the state fire marshal, the Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District now has less than 60 days to repair its groundwater fuel tanks or risks beings “shut down.” The fire marshal said the tank installation that was done over 10 years ago did not meet state requirements.

At the CUMTD Board of Trustees Meeting held Wednesday, William Volk held up a diagram of a tank and described how groundwater had been seeping into the fuel pump and leak detection system of the tanks.

Volk said they are currently in the process of getting the tanks fixed and hope to get an extension on the 60 days proposed by the state fire marshal. The board passed a motion to repair the tanks in an amount quoted at almost $45,000. Volk said that buses will run as normal while the tanks are being repaired.

The board also reviewed current bus fare procedures and prices. Any potential increase in bus fares would affect all outside contracts the CUMTD holds, including those with the University. There are no current plans to increase bus fares.

The board also approved a $150,000 increase in health insurance for 2008.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    At the end of the meeting, board member John Chato stood up and showcased his “Biodiesel Fuel Initiative” T-shirt. The T-shirt advertises the project of the University’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. The project, which started in spring 2006, aims to create biodiesel fuel to reduce the University’s fuel costs as well as create a fuel that is better for the environment.

    Currently, five percent of fuel used by CUMTD buses is biodiesel fuel. Tom Costello, assistant managing director for CUMTD said, in an interview after the meeting, that it is striving for 20 percent. He said the engines were built to reduce emissions, and the buses were using biodiesel fuel before the Biodiesel Fuel Initiative.

    Chato, a retired engineering professor at the University, showing off his T-shirt, forgot what the back of it said. Board member Willard Broom read it for him: “Student tested. Mother nature approved.” Chato said anyone who wanted a T-shirt should let him know and he would pass it along to the students in Engineers Without Borders.

    “He’s real tight with those kids,” Costello said of Chato.

    The next board meeting will be held at 3 p.m. on June 27, in room 202 at the Illinois Terminal, 45 East University Avenue.