Cleanup to make Peter Paul site more attractive

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Crews have created a crater at the former Peter Paul factory grounds, removing soil that had been contaminated by a leaking fuel tank. The area will be filled with clean soil. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The asking price for the former Peter Paul factory land on New Haven Road has dropped more than $4 million since it went on the market five years ago.

Hershey now wants $7.4 million for the property, spokesman Jeff Beckman said last week. The candy company closed its borough plant, which made Mounds and Almond Joy bars, five years ago and subsequently tried to sell the property for $11.5 million.

Beckman confirmed what borough officials had been saying — that the environmental cleaning taking place on the parcel at 889 New Haven Road was not tied to an imminent sale, but rather to make the property more marketable.

“This is a voluntarily cleanup, but we just believe that it would be the right thing to do for the community to remediate the soil and open up opportunities for redevelopment in the future,” Beckman said.

Environmental Waste Minimization, based in Northampton, Pa., is handling the cleanup. Beckman declined to say how much Hershey is spending, and said he did not know whether the land was being cleaned to residential, industrial or commercial standards.

The former factory building was also demolished last year to improve the land’s marketability. Officials have said Hershey is seeking a buyer that will redevelop the land for commercial use.

After this year’s revaluation, the land is appraised at $1.5 million, according to the assessor’s office.

The factory building was constructed in the 1920s, Beckman said. Hershey bought the 36-acre plot and building for $11.5 million in 1988, when it bought the Peter Paul company, records show.

Immediately after the purchase, an underground fuel tank that had leaked was removed, and Hershey remediated as much of the soil as possible, Beckman said.

“We discovered that some of the impacted soil was under the building’s foundation and was inaccessible,” he said.

Now that the building is gone, workers are finishing the job, Beckman said. The soil removed will be replaced with clean soil, he said.

The remediation is expected to finish up by February, Beckman said.

Hershey applied for a permit in August to excavate and backfill 20,000 tons of contaminated soil and construction debris, said Gabrielle Frigon, supervisor for solid waste permitting at the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The contaminated soil will be disposed of off-site, Frigon said.