Firm to determine best way to clean site

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NAUGATUCK — The borough and a private developer are moving forward with plans to remediate and redevelop parcels A and B, having hired an environmental firm to perform testing to determine the best method of cleaning up the property.

“We definitely have positive momentum and I expect it to continue,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

Last week, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a $149,657 contract with Nobis Engineering for environmental services, including testing and monitoring.

Parcels A and B stretch along Old Firehouse Road and include the former General DataComm building at 6 Rubber Ave. and the adjacent parking lot.

Nobis will determine whether the borough’s preferred method of remediation, which involves capping contaminants underneath the site, is the most appropriate solution.

Capping is much less expensive than traditional remediation, which involves shipping contaminated soil off site and replacing it.

“Capping the site rather than removing the material saves multimillions of dollars,” said Hess, noting that traditional remediation would cost about $18 million.

The development team needs its remediation plan approved by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, at which point the developer, Sustainable Development Corp., will take ownership of the property.

Hess expects that to happen before the end of the year. Once the action plan is approved, and technical plans are designed, cleanup and construction on the mixed-use development will occur simultaneously.

The project includes as much as 150,000-square-feet of commercial development and up to 350 residential units on the two parcels.

Hess met with project stakeholders Feb. 10 to discuss recent progress. He said the project is on schedule and remediation plans should be finished by the end of the year.

The borough has already secured grants for remediation and is seeking additional grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Also, the borough is working with the state Department of Transportation to design the relocation of the Naugatuck train platform from Water Street to parcel B, Hess said.

“The project is a very large project so in order for it to all come together we need frequent train service so everything is intertwined with the progress of the state to complete the improvements on the Waterbury branch line,” Hess said.

Those improvements on the Waterbury branch line include positive train control and signalization.