Contaminated soil surfaces at old Pitney Bowes factory

Contaminated soil surfaces at old Pitney Bowes factory

Source:, August 16, 2011
By: Jeff Morganteen

State environmental officials and city firefighters on Tuesday helped contain contaminated soil that surfaced from a remediated plot in the South End once home to the Pitney Bowes factory.

Contaminated soil entered a sewer line after a construction crew dug into a remediated “brownfield” at the old Pitney Bowes manufacturing plant on Pacific Street, where the developer Building and Land Technologies is building condos, Public Health and Safety Director Bobby Valentine said. A brownfield is a piece of land that contains hazardous substances or pollutants.

Valentine stressed the soil did not threaten the air or water supply.

City workers shut down a pumping station before the contaminated soil in an area sewer line could reach other sewer lines or the station itself, he said. The sewer lines are being cleaned, and a contractor is removing exposed contaminated soil at the construction site.

“All state and city officials believe this is not a situation that deals with the spreading of any contamination outside of sewer lines or from the premises,” Valentine said.

Valentine said he was first notified of the situation at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and a hazardous material team from the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department were already on the scene.

Construction has been suspended at the site. State environmental officials are working to identify the contaminant. Valentine said it appears to be an oil by-product.

The DEEP is in charge of clean-up efforts, Valentine said. It’s unclear how much contaminated soil escaped from the brownfield until the clean-up is done.

In 2007, Antares Investment Partners, the first developer behind the massive redevelopment of the South End and the 80-acre Harbor Point project, began to clean up contaminated sites in the South End in order to begin construction.

Antares, which closed and let BLT take over the South End developments, agreed to clean up or isolate soil left contaminated by decades of heavy industrial use.

In this case, contaminated soil on the Pitney Bowes site had been capped with a layer of clean gravel, crushed rock and top soil, Valentine said.

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