Council gives high marks for handling of Quinnipiac spill

Excavation at the scene of the hexavalent chromium (Chromium 6) spill at Light Metals Coloring. (File photo)

Excavation at the scene of the hexavalent chromium (Chromium 6) spill at Light Metals Coloring. (File photo)

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

Just weeks after hexavalent chromium spilled into the Quinnipiac River from Light Metals Coloring Company, the town has everything under control and the area has returned to normal. Officials took a moment at the start of Monday’s Town Council meeting to review Southington’s efforts during the crisis.

Town Manager Garry Brumback had nothing but positive comments to say regarding the situation at Monday’s Town Council meeting, saying that everyone handled their jobs well. Brumback said that state and local parties involved in the clean-up acted with great efficiency to ensure the town’s safety.

Brumback said that residents should not be concerned in the long-run because excellent testing was done and the contaminated areas were cleaned up or removed.

“The river will be monitored for a couple of months to ensure that nothing is detected,” said the town manager, “but all tests have come back negative.”

The closed wells were all re-opened as of Friday, Sept. 2.

The Aug. 24 spill started on the roof of the Light Metals building and ran down drain pipes into the driveway until it reached the Quinnipiac River. Numerous departments worked together to control the situation including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Southington Fire and Water Departments, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Southington/Plainville Health District.

All officials worked together to maintain the spill while keeping the public informed with results.

“It was an outstanding response from state, local (Fire Chief Harold Clark led the town team) and Light Metals,” Brumback said.

The Town Manager recognized Southington Fire Department Chief Harold Clark and the SFD, Keith Hayden and Highway Department, Fred Rogers and the Water Dept,, and Shane Lockwood and the Southington-Plainville Health District. Brumback cited each for their outstanding efforts in the wake of this event.

Clark reported that the SFD is no longer on site and was reimbursed $29,000 for expenses.

“I know there were some concerns that we weren’t notified in a timely manner, and I can tell you that in no uncertain terms I explained to the folks with a red face that they should have called us immediately,” he said. “It’s in our LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee). We have 22 different people that have to report tier 2 (emergencies) in Southington.”

Clark explained that Light Metals did not have any obligation to report that they had the material on site because they don’t have a reportable quantity, nor is it on the hazardous list with the EPA.

Council Chair Michael Riccio said, “On behalf of the council, I would like to say thank you to the fire and police, water, and health departments, and property owners to make sure everyone’s safety was taken care of.”

Councilor Edward Pocock III said that water department went above and beyond.

“It could have been much, much worse but because of the quick action of all of you working together, a real disaster was averted,” said Councilor Victoria Triano. “We really appreciate that.”

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