Fill pile costs climb to almost $800k
FAIRFIELD — Remediation and construction of a berm at the Public Works fill pile has cost the town close to $800,000, according to a finance department audit.
The fill pile, in place for decades, was shut down after neighbor complaints about noise, and the discovery of a small area contaminated with PCBs and lead. The town is suing Julian Enterprises, the company it contracted with in 2014 to manage the pile and ultimately reduce its size.
Instead,the town claims, Julian did just the opposite. Julian has countersued for defamation and the combined court cases are pending.
The town’s bill, so far, for the fill pile totals $779,513.
According to the audit, the soil testing and remediation took up the largest chunk of the bill, totaling $396,260. Of that, $246,907 was paid to CT Tank Removal.
Joseph Michelangelo, Public Works Director, said $285,934 for remediation came from an appropriation from fiscal year 2017 contingency accounts. He said since December 2016, $109,675 was spent collecting and testing soil, and was paid through the Public Works operations budget.
Fill pile costs
Legal fees $74,206
Soil testing and remediation $396,260
Equipment rental $57,500
Fuel and lubrication $6,973
Erosion and sediment control $3,187
Copying, storage of security system video $7,254
In-house labor $212,822
“As we did have some time to plan for these expenses,” Michelangelo said, “the DPW budget was able to absorb these.”
The second largest component was in-house labor by Public Works and Conservation to construct the berm to help hide not only the fill pile, but other activity on Richard White Way, from residents on Pine Creek and Fairfield Beach Road. Labor costs came to $212,822, which includes overtime. The split was $172,783 for DPW labor, and $40,039 for DPW and Conservation management.
Overtime, Michelanagelo said, added up to $33,360, and again, he said, will be absorbed by the department’s budget.
Other costs include $74,206 for legal fees and $57,500 for equipment rental.
The berm is now in place and has been landscaped, but Michelangelo said the pile has not disappeared.
“There are 60,000 cubic yards of aggregate material remaining behind the berm,” Michelangelo said. “To be able to use and move this material, we will need to do additional environmental testing.” He said a cubic yard of aggregate material generally costs about $20 a cubic yard range, “the value of the clean material is in excess of the environmental testing costs.”
The town itself generates about 6,000 tons of road spoils each year, and estimates have put removal of those materials at about $100,000 to $160,000 annually.
Under the agreement with Julian, not only was the town able to dispose of its road spoils, it was also able to purchase needed fill at a reduced cost. Julian was allowed to bring in material to mix with what was in the pile in order to make it ready for sale, but the town said rather than reducing the pile, the pile actually grew larger.
While the contract with Julian was still in place, the company had indicated it was willing to cover the costs of building the berm, along with landscaping and fencing.