DEEP: State, Local and Community Leaders Celebrate Completion of Cleanup of Residential Properties in Hamden’s Newhall Neighborhood

January 4, 2013
 
State, Local and Community Leaders Celebrate Completion of Cleanup of Residential Properties in Hamden’s Newhall Neighborhood
 
State, local and community leaders gathered this morning to celebrate the completion of the cleanup of residential properties in Hamden’s Newhall neighborhood.
 
The ceremony at the Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church on Newhall St. marked the end of a major effort that involved removal and replacement of 131,700 cubic yards of soil containing waste fill from 240 mostly residential properties and the restoration of all pre-existing features on the properties – sidewalks, driveways, fences, decks, and trees.  Work on the project began in late summer 2010 and was completed recently. 
 
Comments of Public Officials
 
“We have now fulfilled an important commitment to make this a safe, healthy and livable neighborhood for the people of Newhall,” said Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which oversaw the project.  “We can all take pride in the fact that this cleanup was accomplished ahead of schedule, under budget, and in a manner that protects the well being of residents and also respected their needs and wishes.”
 
"The Town of Hamden is grateful for the investment in southern Hamden that resulted from the Consent Order entered in 2003,” said Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson.  “The millions of dollars invested in this community were used wisely and through an effective partnership between our town, DEEP and the Olin Corporation, a very complicated project has concluded that has made Hamden a better place to live. We will continue to work with our State partners to invest in the public facilities and in creating jobs"
 
“This daunting environmental problem addressed by the State, Olin and Hamden was truly a cooperative effort,” said State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, whose district includes the Newhall neighborhood. . “A project of this scale could have only succeeded with the best efforts of government and the private sector working in close cooperation. This has been a long road for Newhall families and we have shared their anxieties and uncertainty.  It is gratifying that families will no longer have to worry about any dangers lurking in the soil."
 
"Beyond the significance of correcting this massive environmental injustice, and beyond the significance of cleaning up and restoring this portion of Hamden, I'm most pleased about the sensitivity with which this project was conceived, executed, and completed," said Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge).  "Residents were consulted in the planning stages, materials from condemned structures were recycled where and when possible and nearly 5,000 trees and shrubs were included in an effort to jump-start that aspect of this neighborhood as well."
 
“Working together as a team – residents, legislators, local officials, DEEP and other state agencies – we have cleaned up and transformed an entire neighborhood and set it on a stronger and more stable path for the future,” said State Representative Peter Villano, (D-Hamden), whose district encompasses the Newhall neighborhood.  “I am pleased that our efforts to obtain state funding for this cleanup – as well as funds to address the issue of structurally damaged homes in the neighborhood – resulted in such an outstanding success story.”
 
Background on Newhall Cleanup Project

After extensive consultation with residents, DEEP released a final plan for the cleanup of the Newhall neighborhood in October, 2007.  The plan addressed issues posed by the presence of waste fill in a section of Hamden identified in a 2003 Consent Order (CO) which was approved by DEEP.  The CO was entered into by the Town of Hamden; the South Central Regional Water Authority (RWA); Olin Corporation, the successor to Winchester Repeating Arms, which was located in New Haven and supplied much of the fill material deposited in the neighborhood; and the State of Connecticut Board of Education.

The Newhall Street Neighborhood area historically consisted of wetlands and low-lying areas that were filled with industrial and household wastes from the late 1800s through the mid- 1900s. Many homes and other buildings were built on top of soil containing this waste fill. Contaminants of concern most frequently detected during soil investigations within the site included:
  • Heavy metals, primarily lead and arsenic
  • PAHs, which are a type of semi-volatile organic compound (SVOC) typically associated with wood and coal ash.
The cleanup involved removal of soils containing waste fill down to a depth of four feet – and replacing these soils with clean fill.  Under terms of the consent order, the total cost for the cleanup of residential properties was share equally by the state of Connecticut and Olin Corporation.  The cost for this portion of the remedy was approximately $35 million, significantly less than the $50 million that was originally anticipated.
 
Facts and Figures on Newhall Cleanup
 
  • The 131,700 cubic yards of fill removed from residential properties required 8,700 truck loads – the same number of loads was also needed to bring in clean soils.
  • 80 structures removed to allow for the cleanup were replaced – these included 37 sheds, 37 decks, two handicapped ramps, two swimming pools, two carports, and 6,330 square feet of retaining wall.
  • 4,700 shrubs and trees were replanted to replace those removed to make way for the cleanup.
  • 210,700 square feet – almost four footballs fields – of driveways/parking areas were replaced.
  • 20,350 lineal feet – almost 3.8 miles – of sidewalk were rebuilt.
Contractors for the Newhall Cleanup
 
Sevenson Environmental Services of Niagara Falls, N.Y.,  was the primary construction contractor retained by Olin.  The environmental consultant/engineering firm retained by Olin was AMEC Environment and Infrastructure.  Many local construction workers (equipment operators and laborers) were hired by Sevenson to implement the work.
 
Many talented and local sub-contractors were also retained: arborists, electricians, landscapers, carpenters, masons, surveyors, truck drivers, etc.  Nearly 100 local workers were directly employed and on-site daily.
 
Structurally Damaged Homes
 
The State of Connecticut provided $5 million in funding through the Department of Economic and Community Development to the Hamden Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) that is being used to repair homes that suffered structural damage as a result of being constructed on poor soils – or to purchase and take down homes that suffered extensive damage.
 
Eighty homes have already been evaluated for structural damage and repairs have already been made to more than 60.  Others homes will also be evaluated and repaired as necessary.  In addition, 15 properties were purchased from owners because they are too damaged to repair and they will be taken down.  Some of the homes are being “deconstructed,”  meaning they are being taken apart piece by piece which allows for salvaged building materials to be recycled.
 
Remaining Work in Newhall Area
 
While the completion of cleanup on residential properties is a major milestone in the Newhall neighborhood, there is still more work to be done.
  • DEEP is working closely with the Town of Hamden, which is expected to cleanup public properties at Rochford Field and Mill Rock Park in 2013.  This will involve placing a new impermeable liner over these areas and covering them with clean topsoil.
  • The Southwest Regional Water Authority is responsible for the cleanup of the former middle school property on Newhall Street.  This is expected to begin in 2014 and take place in various phases.
  • DEEP will manage cleanup of residential properties located just west of St. Mary’s St. that have contaminated soils but were not covered by the 2002 Consent Order.