By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments has awarded Naugatuck two grants totaling $245,000 for environmental remediation efforts at two borough-owned properties.
Naugatuck will get $200,000 for cleanup planning and remediation at the former Risdon property on Andrew Avenue, NVCOG announced in a news release.
The 12-acre parcel was the home of Risdon Manufacturing for 87 years. The company moved to Watertown in 2000 and a building on the site was later demolished. The borough bought the property for $400,000 through an auction in 2019. As part of the agreement, the borough forgave about $168,000 in back taxes and ended up paying about $232,000 for the land.
The land is now the site of Naugatuck’s temporary transfer station. The borough relocated the transfer station from 226 Rubber Ave. to the property last summer. Plans are in the works to build a new transfer station on a 13.4-acre parcel off School Street Extension.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the grant will be used to complete remediation efforts that were started about 20 years ago.
According to the grant application, soil and groundwater at the site have been impacted by petroleum and chlorinated solvents. Some remediation has been done, the application states, but the currant nature and extent is unknown.
The hope is that the site will eventually be developed and put back on the tax rolls. Officials view the land as strategically located. The land is equidistant from the site for the proposed “Port of Naugatuck” project off Elm Street and the planned transit-oriented development project downtown. The property could be used for one of those projects or sold for a stand-alone development.
Hess said the plan for the land is still to be determined.
With the transfer station at the former Risdon property, at least temporarily, borough officials are looking to sell or lease the 1.76-acre lot at 226 Rubber Ave. to generate revenue.
Hess said there was some interest in the site from a private entity, but that interest has waned.
The borough is getting a $45,000 grant from NVCOG for an environmental assessment of the land.
Hess said the assessment will show what, if any, remediation is needed and help officials determine the best course of action to take to develop the land.
The $245,000 is coming from an EPA Revolving Loan Fund grant that NVCOG received in 2020. The funds are dedicated for redeveloping brownfields. The grants for Naugatuck are part of more than $1 million in funding NVCOG awarded for eight brownfield remediation projects, including projects in Waterbury, Derby and Torrington.