FAIRFIELD — The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has warned the town that the controversial fill pile remains contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and is now telling officials if the chemicals aren’t cleaned up soon they could face penalties.

The town said it removed all the PCBs from the Public Works pile in 2017, and in 2018 constructed a landscape berm to shield neighbors from view of the debris.

But DEEP is now saying PCBs remain at the site, which was shut down in 2016 after it was discovered that Julian Enterprises had allowed contaminated material to be dumped there. And newly-elected First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick is claiming the berm may have done more harm than good.

The berm was constructed using the pile’s soil without proper permitting from DEEP, Kupchick said. In doing so, she said, the town ran the risk of uncovering and mixing in contaminated soil.

Last week, Kupchick met with numerous DEEP officials in response to a notice of violation threatening penalties if the pile and berm are not properly cleaned up.

The state granted the town an extension until Jan. 17, and Kupchick said it might be granted additional time to create a comprehensive plan of actions it will take the eliminate the PCBs at the pile.

That work has already begun. The town recently put out a request for proposals to environmental companies to test and come up with a remediation plan for the pile, according to Kupchick.

The dumping of PCBs at the site became the subject of a criminal investigation earlier this year, resulting in the arrests of two town employees and Julian’s co-owner. They are accused of conspiring to allow the dumping, as well as for Julian to sell the contaminated soil for projects throughout town — leading to a town-wide testing of over 70 sites and cleanup of at least nine.

Last month, DEEP and the state prosecutor conducted its own tests of the pile in connection with their ongoing criminal case. Those test results have not come back yet, Kupchick said, but will also be instrumental in putting together a remediation plan.

Kupchick, who defeated eight-year incumbent Mike Tetreau on promises of better management of the fill controversy, said she’s committed to getting the pile cleaned up as soon as possible.

“I’m on top of this,” she said. “I’m trying to take care of it in a transparent and honest way and work accordingly with the appropriate agencies to protect the community, to clean up this issue and move on.”

Kupchick also said she plans to be more communicative with DEEP than the Tetreau administration. According to her, the DEEP officials she met with said they had reached out to the town multiple times requesting information on testing and remediation, but were not brought into the loop.\

A representative of DEEP declined to comment, given the ongoing investigation into the pile.

“They said to me that they wanted to be more involved, but were not included,” Kupchick said.

Town attorney Jim Baldwin, who was present at the meeting, confirmed these statements from DEEP officials.

This contradicts previous statements by Tetreau and other town officials stating that DEEP had been adequately included in the testing and remediation process.

Neither Tetreau nor Conservation Director Brian Carey — who has been heading the testing and remediation efforts in his additional role as interim director of public works — immediately responded to a request for comment.