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Stratford’s Toxic Waste Topic of Meeting with EPA

Town officials meet today with the federal agency to discuss the Raymark Superfund site.

A minimum of 46 residential properties in Stratford are that had operated on East Main Street for 70 years before closing in 1989.

Numerous other commercial, recreational and municipal properties are likewise polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, lead and copper, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

While the main Raymark site has since been remediated and repurposed as a big box retail complex that includes Walmart, the toxic waste and remains for dozens of Stratford residents.

"Every year I watch my property value go down and my taxes go up and I worry about my child's health," a Housatonic Avenue resident speaking at public forum earlier this week told Town Council members.

"Try and get some closure on this," another Housatonic Avenue resident said to the Council. "Every time this comes up it sends another black eye to our neighborhood."

Closure in the form of a resolution which Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3) said would send a message to the EPA, was tabled by Council members by a 8-to-2 vote Monday night. In the end it'll be up to the EPA how to remediate the Raymark Superfund site.

The resolution, prepared by a citizens group called SaveStratford and sponsored by Catalano, proposed using thermo-chemical processing technology and other new and alternative technologies to completely destroy asbestos and PCBs.

"The intent is to recognize the fact that previous solutions EPA has offered are outdated, 20 years old -- this is new technologies," Catalano said. The councilman said all the EPA has offered as a solution is capping the contaminated properties, which is "wrapping it in a bag, throwing dirt on it and giving the problem to future generations."

Thomas Smith of SaveStratford said the group has a list of sites where, despite the EPA's best efforts, the cap in place has failed and in some cases has created more problems. Smith said that the company behind the proposed thermo-chemical processing technology, ARI Technologies, already has a permit from the EPA.

"This is not a figment of my imagination," Smith said. "It's been used and approved by the EPA."

The cost to use this technology at the Raymark site is estimated at $40 million; about $21 million is now in an EPA remediation fund designated for the Raymark site, according to the Connecticut Post.

The resolution to use such technology has been passed by previous councils dating back to 2008, Smith said.

Councilwoman Stephanie Philips (D-2) said the waste removal technology was presented by Catalano three years ago and she's frustrated to not see it move forward.

The resolution was tabled so that the town attorney could review it.

Town officials and citizens will meet with the EPA today at 2:30 p.m. at the to discuss options at the Raymark Superfund site.

Kimberly Meuse. April 11, 2012 at 01:06 PM
ARI is recognized by the EPA as a solution worthy of permit, and would certainly move the town in the right direction towards remediation. It makes better environmental sense than physically moving the waste to a toxic dump elsewhere and/or capping it in place. But how do you make up the other 20 million needed?
Rockannand April 12, 2012 at 05:00 PM
For the first time, the Town of STratford has a real solution to arguably the worst disaster in the history of the town. Unfortunately the solution has been known for some time and everyone from the EPA to Town Officials have done significant amounts of due diligence with ARI to validate the remediation approach. The response by the EPA to the ARI solution and now of the Town Council on Monday to Councilman Matt Catalano and Tom Smith's proposal is a disgrace and deserves outrage by town citizenry at large and to those neighbors who have suffered emotionally and economically. For some this has been a 34 year nightmare that keeps dragging on and on. And now we need the town attorney to review it?? As I am always fond of saying, "I was born at night, but not last night". There are obviously forces, some known and some unknown that have a vested interest in NOT seeing complete and final remediation of both Raymark and the Army Engine plant super-fund sites. These forces have agendas that do not serve the public and do not help those that have suffered directly from the disaster that Raymark created. Its time to ask the hard questions to understand why this proposal is not getting a complete public hearing. People have a right to know that a REAL and viable solution exists for complete remediation. The EPA and Rep DeLaura and Senators Lieberman and Blumenthal need to hear from the people of Stratford, not the special interests that we want action and we want it now.
RMK April 12, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Gingrich's Congress of the 90s worked with special interests and allowed the oil and chemical industry taxes that subsidized the superfund for toxic cleanups to expire, in spite of President Clinton's efforts to renew those taxes. The superfund for clean ups dwindled and slowed as a result. Bush made that worse -- the burden of cost for clean up went from the polluters to the taxpayers as the superfund finally dried up. We now see oil companies making record profits, just recently they were allowed to hang on to their government subsidies thanks to the Majority Party in Congress. Meanwhile, towns like Stratford sit on their toxic waste dumps. You can now place blame on the EPA, Rosa DeLauro, Lieberman, Blumenthal and the town of Stratford leadership, but the real problems the town faces in clean up lie in who is now left to pay the bill. Certainly not those who had the lobbying power to urge Congress and the Bush administration to allow them to walk away from that burden. Just saying.
Tom April 13, 2012 at 06:29 AM
The Nature of Things to Come Sustainable land use (grab) that helps the BIG BOYS pay off their local lemmings with property rights they do not merit. Don't worry! Just like in some neighboring towns and cities already, that land will be handed over to the marionettes that made it all possible. Then, suddenly the land that was prohibited and contaminated will miraculously become “clean”; it will be virgin and pristine, ripe for shovel-ready projects. Avalonian bee-hive housing will spring from the soil, reminiscent of Stalinism and a truly scientifically planned society. This much promenade space will be assigned for this sector, this much park space for that one. Cronyism will regulate by way of retribution and retaliation, an oligarchic pyramid established by psychopaths. With true legislative and judicial backbone socially neutered, civil law as well as unalienable rights will become as real to us as the historical documents and books that philosophically introduced such thoughts to all free people. Conditioning through all media will provide steady streams of property-right violations. Broken contract and broken promises will become the social norm. So much so that when the BIG BOYS hand you a pittance, you will be grateful and will cherish it because you will have their blessings.
Tom April 13, 2012 at 06:29 AM
So much so that some may even begin to compromise what they know to be dignified and decent in order to avoid being stung, being erroneously castigated, being systematically ousted through character assassination and organized ridicule. The weasels will change their colors when necessary. They will blend and burrow, they will save themselves as the seasons change. How they manage to look their loved ones in the face is beyond me. They are perverted with the psychopathologies of disconnection, from empathy and even the ability to truly love their own. These are the same sort of people that will throw the big Independence Day bash and invite all their sycophants over to enjoy the festivities. As the pyrotechnics begin, they may snuggle up to one of their family members and pretend they still love the very country they have betrayed. How does anyone like this look a child in the face?
George E. Mulligan July 09, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Intentionally poisoned ground water, by TOWN, STATE, & FEDS? Cause HEALTH & SAFETY concerns and drive DOWN PROPERTY VALUES to create EMINENT DOMAIN for the 1988 plan for Hotels & Docks from beyond the base of HOUSATONIC AVENUE, behind UMBERTI'S to the WASHINGTON BRIDGE, across from the DOCK SHOPPING CENTER. Have cancers been caused to force people from homes? Is LORDSHIP to be taken over and developed with PLEASURE BEACH, LONG BEACH WEST, AVCO, and AIRPORT EXPANSION?
Dom DeCicco July 09, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Where is Veteran Enio Susi's grave marker-- seven months is too long.

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