Environmental Cleanup Begins On Former Tobacco Fields

Source: Hartford Courant (CT), September 22, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Contamination on 200 acres in the town’s Meadowood section that was once used to grow tobacco is being cleaned up this week in preparation for a proposed 296-home housing development.

Residents living near the property, bounded by Hoskins Road on the south, County Road on the north and Clifton Road on the west, were told about the work in a letter from the planning department earlier this week. The work began Sept. 13.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Howard Beach said the work will be done in two phases.

“Right now they are just moving soil within the site. Nothing is leaving the site,” Beach said. “What is known as the Hoskins 7 area up there had some higher concentrations of pesticides and that area has to be excavated 2 feet and removed off-site to a certified landfill.”

Beach said the pesticides were applied to the land when it was being used by Coleman Brothers to grow tobacco. The use of such pesticides was banned in the 1970s, Beach said, but the chemicals can linger in the soil and must be removed if the land is to be developed.

Beach said the work, being done by Bloomfield-based Griffin Land, includes scraping off the topsoil from the northeast side of the property along County Road and moving it to another portion of the site where additional pesticide contamination exists. Permits to conduct the work have been obtained from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Once Griffin Land obtains a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers, the contaminated soil can be taken to a landfill, Beach said. Air quality testing will also be done.

Beach said a site plan for the property, which originally proposed 299 homes but now includes 296, was approved by the town several years ago. During a recent meeting with the planning officials, Griffin Land representatives said there are no immediate plans to begin building.

“Once they get the earthwork done, they will be seeding it with winter rye to avoid erosion,” Beach said, referring to the property which is located near Squadron Line School.

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