Remediation begins at Fairfield's Gould Manor Park

Remediation has begun at Gould Manor Park. It is expected to cost the town approximately $120,000.

Remediation has begun at Gould Manor Park. It is expected to cost the town approximately $120,000.

Rachel Scharf / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — The town has begun remediating Gould Manor Park in the first of a series of initiatives to clear contaminated soil from local parks and fields.

The work began last Thursday and is expected to conclude by Oct. 25. Next, the town plans to tackle remediation at Burroughs Soccer Field and Jennings Elementary School’s playgrounds.

The town has contracted RED Technologies to clean up Gould Manor Park’s sidewalk, ridding the area of arsenic, lead and asbestos discovered there in August. The removal is expected to cost the town approximately $120,000, Conservation Director Bryan Carey told the Board of Finance on Oct. 1.

According to the site’s remedial action plan, contractors will excavate contaminated soils and bring them to a certified disposal facility in Minerva, N.Y.

Excavated areas will be replaced with certified clean fill once confirmatory soil samples determine that no exceedances remain on site.

The plan also notes that air monitoring will be performed daily during excavation.

RED Technologies will also take the lead on projects at the other locations flagged for remediation, including Burroughs and Jennings. Low levels of asbestos, arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were discovered at 10 town sites over the course of a lengthy soil testing process.

Although the state Department of Health has said there are no health exposure risks posed by these levels of contaminants, the town has previously said they will remediate these sites out of “an abundance of caution.”

These contaminants were discovered after the town tested 60 sites at local parks and fields that used fill from the town’s contaminated Public Works pile between 2013 and 2016, when it was managed by Julian Enterprises.

The pile’s management is the subject of an ongoing criminal case, in which two town officials have been charged with bribery and illegal dumping at the site, which was shut down after PCBs were discovered there in 2016.

RED Technologies is currently developing cost and timing plans for the other sites requiring remediation. As town officials have previously noted, remediation processes and costs will vary across sites, depending on the amount and type of material to be removed.

First Selectman Mike Tetreau said that the town will next remediate Burroughs Soccer Field, where low levels of non-friable asbestos were detected.

The following project in the pipeline is Jennings Elementary School, where arsenic was found in the chemically-treated railroad ties surrounding both playscapes. Tetreau said this remediation is being planned in conjunction with the school district.

Questions abounded at last week’s Board of Education meeting as to whether the seven other sites where contamination was detected will in fact be remediated. These sites include McKinley Elementary School, Old Dam Road Tennis Courts, Jennings Beach Playground, Mill Hill Elementary School, Ludlowe High School, Riverfield Elementary School and Osborn Hill Elementary School.

These questions arose after Jim Olsen, vice president of Tighe & Bond, said there is no remediation planned for Osborn Hill or Riverfield - sites the town had previously stated are safe but will be remediated out of an abundance of caution.

In response to questions about these sites’ statuses, Tetreau said the town is still working to evaluate them and will provide communication “shortly” as to whether remediation will take place.

“We’re just trying to get through one thing at a time and make sure that’s accurate,” Tetreau said.

Tighe & Bond is also working to clear its remediation plans with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Although DEEP approval is not required, and the state Department of Health has already signed off on the safety of Fairfield’s fields, the town is seeking concurrence from DEEP as an extra measure of assurance.