Stratford Patch spoke at length with Conservation Administrator Brian Carey Thursday afternoon. Here is our followup: Blasting Shakes Up Stratford Neighborhood.
Updated 10 a.m. Thursday with comments from the town's conservation administrator.
Rumor on Circle Drive in Stratford is that blasting at a nearby development caused the dam at Cook’s Pond to burst, resulting in rapid drainage and, consequently, the deaths of dozens of fish.
“Some of the blasts will knock you out of your chair,” said a resident, Lee, who declined to give his full name.
Lee’s home is located between the pond and the future home of a 130-unit apartment complex on Cutspring Road, an affordable housing development the town fought for years in court, albeit unsuccessfully, to prevent from being built.
Lee said the recent blasting at the site just north of the Merritt Parkway has been so intense it actually caused his neighbor’s foundation to crack. And that’s in addition to the hole in the dam.
“The hole is massive,” said Kristen Barrett, a 15-year resident of Circle Drive who added that she’s seen the private pond in her backyard get low but never this low.
A Circle Drive resident built the dam about 30 years ago, according to Lee, who himself has lived on the dead-end street since 1999. Lee said when his neighbor brought his complaint to the town and developers “he was told to get an architect and engineer and prove it was the cause” of the break.
The neighbor who Lee identified as the owner of dam could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Stratford Conservation Administrator Brian Carey emailed Stratford Patch Thursday with the following message:
"The dam has been in poor condition for years. There is no evidence that AvalonBay caused any further damage to the dam. The pond was drained as precaution under the authority of the (Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) until their dam inspection unit can come down to the site and inspect the dam.
"Once the resident (i.e. dam owner) meets with the CT DEEP dam inspection unit, I am going to require him to replace the weir board in the dam to fill the dam."
Though Lee said no one from the town has explained the sudden drainage to him or others on Circle Drive, an announcement on the town’s website posted Wednesday unveiled the launch of a webpage meant to keep locals apprised of just that, provided the blasting caused the break in the dam.
“This webpage has been established to inform residents regarding the continued construction at the future AvalonBay complex located at 1600 Cutspring Road,” the page reads. “The town has been actively working with AvalonBay to make sure that all of the residents’ concerns are being addressed regarding the continued construction project.”
On the webpage there is a link to a PDF titled “2013-09-06 Weekly Erosion Control Inspection.” Under the “Initial Remarks/Comments” section of the report, it reads: “Rock blasting ongoing near site entrance. Expected to move toward rear of site next week.”
“They are building without care or concern,” another Circle Drive resident who declined to give her name said. “The pond was a beautiful oasis.”