DEEP: $11,000 Settlement Announced for Illegal Excavation of Contaminated Soil in Stratford

March 15, 2010
 
$11,000 Settlement Announced for Illegal Excavation of Contaminated Soil in Stratford

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced today a businessman will pay the state more than $11,000 in clean up costs and penalties for defying state and federal bans on excavating heavily contaminated soil at his Stratford property.

Blumenthal reached the settlement with Joseph S. Marcell in cooperation with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Stratford Self Storage, LLC, owned by Marcellís mother, holds undeveloped commercial property at 340 East Main Street, which is within the Raymark Super Fund Site and heavily contaminated with PCPs, lead and asbestos. The DEP and EPA ban any excavation within the area.

Marcell defied the ban in May 2009 by digging at the property. Blumenthal, in cooperation with DEP, obtained a court order halting the excavation.

Blumenthal said, "This settlement sends a message: Digging in Raymark-contaminated areas will mean a penalty. Defiance of state and federal excavation bans exposed deadly PCPs, lead and asbestos. Reckless disregard of the law disturbed dangerous toxins and endangering residents, especially children, and the environment.

"My office successfully sued to stop Mr. Marcellís illegal, potentially deadly dig. We are compelling him to reimburse taxpayers for the cleanup cost and to pay penalties for defying the law," Blumenthal said.

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, "This action sends a strong message that there is no tolerance for unauthorized excavation in an area where soil is known to be contaminated. Work conducted by Mr. Marcell was in violation of the law and posed risks for his neighbors.

"The fact that this incident occurred reinforces our position that final remedies need to be implemented on the outstanding Raymark disposal areas in order to both protect the public and minimize future costs to the taxpayers. DEP continues to work with all appropriate parties to accomplish this goal in a timely, effective and safe manner," Marrella said.

Marcell is paying $8,705 to cover the cost of clean-up and a $2,500 civil penalty in increments over 22 months beginning March 1. The clean up took three days and was completed in May 2009.

Marcell gave conflicting reasons for the excavation, although it appeared to be for a foundation or retaining wall. Itís unclear how long he was digging before Blumenthal ordered him to stop.