Town’s actions could result in hundreds of millions in fines

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

On July 22, 2003 the town of Greenwich stipulated, with regard to Greenwich High School, that “The entire property is a wetlands” with a deed restriction permanently attached to 10 Hillside Road Site Plan. But in a July 31, 2012 response from the office of First Selectman Peter Tesei to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Greenwich Director of Public Works characterized 10 Hillside Road as not a wetlands.

Conditions of the Self-Implementing Cleanup of PCB remediation waste at GHS, conducted under the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR § 761.61), include: “Any person conducting self-implementing cleanup of PCB remediation waste must characterize the site adequately to provide the information required by paragraph (a)(3) of this section.”

Mischaracterizing the site, as has happened here, is subject to revocation of the conditional self-implementing approval; restoration of the site to its original state and fines up to $31,500 per day, per violation, dating back more than 45 years; a total of more than $500,000,000.

The Clean Water Act authorizes private citizens to directly seek relief in federal court, after giving 60-day notice, if they believe federal agencies have failed to properly implement CWA.

Please treat this letter as 60-day notice of the intent of The Old Church Road Association to file a citizen suit under section 505(a) of the Clean Water Act against the town of Greenwich for mischaracterizing 10 Hillside Road as “not wetlands.”

We will seek restoration of the wetlands to its original state; removal of all toxic material; as well as fines sufficient to properly perform this work and reimburse neighborhood property owners for legal costs and damages to their person and properties caused by the town’s actions.

The town has 60 days to begin negotiating a settlement with me if it wishes to avoid my filing in federal court.

 

Bill Effros
Greenwich

The author is a spokesman for The Old Church Road Association.

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