UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: State, Town and DEEP officials discuss Mill River clean-up in Hartford

Thursday, March 7, 2013

State, Town and DEEP officials discuss Mill River clean-up in Hartford

A meeting that included State Senator John McKinney, Fairfield’s three state representatives, Kim Fawcett, Tony Hwang, and Brenda Kupchick, First Selectman Mike Tetreau, the three chairmen of the Conservation, Shellfish and Harbor Management Commissions, Conservation Director Thomas Steinke, Ken Money, vice-president of Exide, and more than half-a-dozen officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) was held in Hartford last Thursday to discuss Exide’s plans for cleaning-up lead that is impacted in the sediment of Mill River. Bob Bilek, vice chair of Fairfield’s Shellfish Commission said afterwards of the DEEP officials, “I’m hoping they listened to some of the issues we had.” Many of the issues discussed around a table in the Republican Senate caucus room of Connecticut’s Capitol were ones that have been discussed by the three commissions here in Fairfield, such as cleaning out the railroad drain that was never fully examined and which could potentially re-contaminate the river; dredging during the spawning periods of fish and shellfish, whether there will be money for remediation of the bottom of the river after it is cleaned, monitoring the cleaned water that goes back in the river, a concern that it doesn’t make sense to clean the river twice (another company, Superior Plating, is responsible for cleaning chromium from the river), and the use of cofferdams versus hydraulic dredging. The former involves emptying a small section of the river while dredging a dry bottom, the latter involves hydraulic dredging in the wet river while a curtain sections off that part of the river. Steinke and others have expressed concern that hydraulic dredging will lead to re-suspended contaminants getting back into the river. Annette Jacobson, Assistant Director of the Conservation Department, said cofferdams were “normal, everyday technology that doesn’t slow down the project.” Geoff Steadman, consultant for the Harbor Management Commission brought up another issue. He said the Harbor commission had the last word on what happened in Southport harbor, and he wanted DEEP officials to get back to them before the commission’s next meeting. DEEP officials disagreed on whose authority was primary. Tetreau suggested they get the opinion of the Attorney General and McKinney volunteered to do so. At the end of the meeting, McKinney asked DEEP officials, “When you’re considering final recommendations, silk (curtain) barriers or cofferdams, do you consider anything beyond the environmental clean-up impact, such as burden on the applicant, time, burden of costs? Are these part of your recommendation or are we strictly weighing the pros and cons: this is the better method to clean-up?” READ MORE:

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