State and federal agencies applaud Superfund cleanup

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

The town of Southington was met with good news from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Officials announced two major milestones on Oct. 2 at two Superfund site cleanups, which included the deletion of the Old Southington Landfill Superfund site from the National Priorities List (NPL), and improvements at the Solvents Recovery Service of New England site that will minimize the environmental footprint of the cleanup.

“This is of course a great thing for Southington,” said Town Council chair Chris Palmieri. “To have the EPA and DEEP visit for this announcement was exciting, and we are happy to have seen such improvements at these two sites.”

At the site of the Old Southington Landfill, which abuts Old Turnpike Road, Rejean Road, and Black Pond, the site operated as a co-disposal municipal landfill between 1920 and 1967. The landfill received both municipal and industrial waste from various contributors throughout New England, including Solvents Recovery Service. The landfill was later subdivided and sold for residential and commercial development.

After the land was sold, former municipal Well No. 5 was installed as a public water supply in 1971. Eight years later, it was closed due to the presence of volatile organic compounds. The EPA placed the site on the NPL of Superfund sites in 1984.

According to the EPA, all remedial components have been fully implemented at the site. The EPA stated the site poses no unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. EPA, in consultation with the state, will conduct five-year reviews to assure that the remedy remains effective and protective of human health and the environment.

“The deletion of the Old Southington landfill from the Superfund list and the greening of the Solvents Recovery Service site signal important progress for communities here in Southington,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn in a statement. “The progress exemplifies EPA’s and this administration’s commitment to clean up contaminated sites while working with the local community every step of the way to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed.”

As far as the site of Solvents Recovery Service of New England, it has not been officially removed from the Superfund NPL, but officials acknowledge significant cleanup and improvement. The site operated a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility and received waste industrial solvents on site from 1957 to 1991. Sludges were disposed of in two unlined lagoons from 1957 to 1967 when lagoons were drained and covered with fill. After the lagoons closed, wastes were burned in an open pit on site or disposed off-site.

In the 1970s, the state ordered that the incineration stop. In 1991, all activities at the site stopped in preparation for closure, according to the EPA. The site was placed on the NPL in 1983. A long-term remedy plan was given to the site in 2005.

The remedy included several actions including capping contaminated and wetland soil; treating waste oils and solvents in an aquifer beneath the operations area; capturing and treating on-site contaminated groundwater; monitoring natural degradation of the plume until groundwater cleanup levels are achieved; monitoring natural degradation of waste oils and solvents in the aquifer; restrictions on uses of the property and groundwater; and maintain the cap over long-term.

The town also installed solar panels to the site in September, which will provide the energy needed for future operation and maintenance at the site. The addition of solar panels will reduce energy used for cleanup activities at the site by 97 percent.

“Working collaboratively with the EPA, we are taking action to correct the mistakes of the past,” said DEEP commissioner Rob Klee in a statement. “[This] announcement is concrete evidence of what we can do working together and wit our communities to cleanup, protect and preserve Connecticut’s environment.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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