Contaminants found at three of eight school sites
FAIRFIELD — Three of the eight school sites tested this week will undergo remediation to get rid of small amounts of contaminated material.
On Saturday, the town announced results from Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 tests of school fields on its initial list of potentially contaminated sites. The tests cleared Burr, Dwight, McKinley, North Stratfield and Fairfield Woods of contamination, but found small exceedances of acceptable standards at Jennings, Mill Hill and Riverfield.
Arsenic was detected at Jennings, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found at Mill Hill and Riverfield.
The town noted that no PCBs or asbestos were found at any school location.
The three affected sites will remain closed while the town works with licensed environmental professional Tighe & Bond and the Connecticut Department of Health to create a remediation plan.
The town said it decided to proceed with remediation, even though the state Department of Health advised that the low levels detected at non-residential settings would pose few health risks.
The Board of Education will be responsible for deciding when the five cleared fields will reopen.
“We are relieved that the fields and other areas tested at the five schools are safe, and we will be working with the Board of Education to get them reopened as soon as possible,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said. “Where we did see evidence of contaminated soil at the other school sites, the levels are relatively low and confined to a limited area, which should enable us to complete the remediation as quickly as possible.”
All eight school sites have all been closed since Thursday, when the school district shut them down pending test results. The district also decided to close and test additional school fields not on the town’s original list. Tests have not yet been returned for these sites.
Testing began when the town learned that fill from the Public Works pile had been used on town projects during the time it was managed by Julian Enterprises. Julian’s co-owner, along with two town officials, have been charged with illegally dumping toxic materials at the site.
The town closed Gould Manor Park’s sidewalk area for remediation Tuesday after test results came back indicating levels of arsenic and lead above the residential standards, as well as pieces of asbestos.
Health Department officials said results from the 11 other sites on the initial list will be available next week. They are also in the process of inventorying other potentially affected sites to add to the list.
“Our Health Department continues to move at a rapid pace to complete the analysis of test results at the remaining sites on our priority list, and we look forward to sharing that information as soon as the analysis is completed,” Tetreau said.