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"The intent is to recognize the fact that previous solutions EPA has offered are outdated, 20 years old -- this is new technologies," Catalano said.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.