Cleanup in progress at contaminated Fairfield parks, fields
FAIRFIELD — Cleanup continues at the town’s parks and fields, where low levels of materials including arsenic, asbestos and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been detected, according to a report released by the office of First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
Work remains in progress at Burroughs Park and Gould Manor Park, and cleanup plans are in development for Jennings Elementary School, Mill Hill Elementary School, Jennings Beach Playground, Old Dam Road and McKinley Elementary School’s former playground.
Remedial action plans for Gould Manor Park and Burroughs Park call for removing contaminated soils and disposing of them at a certified facility in Minerva, N.Y. These areas are then to be filled with certified clean soil and re-tested.
While initial cleanup has been completed at Gould Manor Park, the town announced Thursday that re-tests detected elevated arsenic levels at three spots - two along the fencing between the sidewalk and baseball field, and one next to the pond.
The town said these areas will be dug up and re-tested, and that work should be completed “in the next few weeks.”
Work is also in progress at Burroughs Park. The town said Thursday that soil excavation is set to be completed by the end of this week, at which time engineers will replace and re-test soil at the site.
Remedial action plans are in development for the five other sites requiring cleanup. Jennings Elementary School, where arsenic was detected in the playground’s chemically-treated wood siding, is next in line for cleanup, beginning in the next few weeks.
These projects, which are expected to cost the town millions, resulted from the town’s testing of 60 parks, fields and playgrounds.
Testing began after revelations emerged that fill from the contaminated Public Works pile had been used on town construction projects during the time it was managed by Julian Enterprises.
The Julian fill pile has become the subject of a criminal case, in which the state has charged two town employees and Julian’s co-owner with illegal dumping and municipal corruption.
Joseph Michelangelo, who served as the town’s public works director since 2012, is accused of conspiring with Scott Bartlett, the town’s superintendent of public works and Jason Julian to allow the company to dump truck loads of contaminated waste into the pile.
Not all the sites where contamination was detected used fill from the Julian pile, and the state Department of Health has advised that contamination levels are low enough that these sites are safe for use. However, the town decided to clean them up anyway out of an abundance of caution.