FAIRBANKS — A joint motion filed this week could spell the end of the court battle between the state and the owners of two wood boilers near Woodriver Elementary School.
The plaintiff and defense reached a settlement and submitted the joint motion for a final judgment to the court Monday.
Through the settlement, defendants Andrew and Gloria Straughn would agree to replace the controversial wood boilers with a System 2000 oil fired boiler, according to court documents.
The Straughns also would have to pay $12,000 as a civil assessment.
The boiler replacement will be eligible for a $10,000 reimbursement from the Fairbanks North Star Borough through its exchange program, a borough representative told the court.
Court records indicate the state had wanted to seek at least $20,000 from the Straughns but their attorney said they would not be capable of paying such a figure.
The case dates back to January, when the state department of conservation filed a civil suit against the Straughns for refusing to shut down or remove their two wood boilers on properties adjacent to Woodriver Elementary.
Not long after the case was filed, the court issued an order at the state’s request forcing the Straughns to cease use of the boilers throughout the case.
The litigation came after parents and staff at Woodriver took issue with the smoke caused by the boilers. In March 2011, a school counselor wrote an email to elected officials complaining about the smoke making its way into the school building.
“This has been occurring on a regular basis since September 2008 when the OWB furnaces were installed across the street,” wrote counselor Dawn Brashear in 2011.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District installed new ventilation equipment in the school at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, attempting to improve air quality.
District spokesman Bill Bailey said the district didn’t want to comment on any specific court cases, but he was willing to speak toward air quality at Woodriver. He said the district’s focus was not on the outside air, which they had no control over, but on the air inside the school itself.
“We always did what we could to remedy the inside air,” Bailey said. “I would say the district exhausted all available options to make sure there was healthy air indoors.”