Cleanup of polluted soil could hit more than $1 billion cost

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

When the town of Greenwich bought the Cos Cob Power Plant (CCPP) for $1 in 1987 from the state of Connecticut, it assumed responsibility for all pollutants on the site. CCPP is listed as a “Superfund” site pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, which establishes fiscal liability for the cleanup of polluted sites, regardless of who polluted them or how they became polluted.

PCBs never occur naturally. They are all man-made. Each PCB molecule has a unique, identifiable chemical structure. The PCBs found at Greenwich High School have the same molecular structure as the PCBs found at CCPP. It doesn’t matter if different “unknown polluters” dumped the PCBs at both locations prior to 1970. The town is liable for all PCB remediation on town-owned property, as can be seen from the fact AECOM immediately reported the discovery of PCBs at GHS to the EPA.

PCBs fall into an extremely dangerous class of pollutants under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The PCBs discovered at GHS must be remediated to strict international standards under special EPA supervision.

On Dec. 10, 2012, the town accepted TSCA “MISA Footprint Project Area” remediation terms that probably will cost Greenwich taxpayers more than $1 billion.

Please note, the terms of the TSCA “approval” do not constitute a “permit.” The “approval” obligates the town to obtain all required federal, state, and local “permits” prior to commencement of PCB remediation. This means, regardless of how the town ultimately remediates the GHS site, it has agreed to first obtain Municipal Improvement permits, wetlands permits, state permits, federal permits, P&Z final site plan approval, BET approval, RTM approval, etc., for a new MISA Footprint Project Area Site Plan, conforming to TSCA Standards, describing exactly how this PCB remediation will be accomplished over the entire site and what it will cost.

It’s quite possible less costly remediation terms can be negotiated with the EPA. Presumably, this will be discussed as the Board of Education presents its GHS PCB Remediation Plan to the selectmen as part of its application.


Bill Effros

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