Parcel C cleanup set to begin

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NAUGATUCK — The borough will start cleaning a contaminated former industrial parcel downtown next month.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved the borough’s cleanup plan for a 2.2-acre lot on the corner of Maple and Water streets that is pegged for a state-of-the-art medical facility anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital of Waterbury. The facility will be part of the Renaissance Place downtown revitalization project.

Parcel C, once home to an industrial complex where rubber was made, has sat vacant for more than 20 years. The property is filled with petroleum, organic contaminants and lead.

“We’ve talked about cleaning Parcel C and redeveloping it for the better part of a generation,” Mayor Robert A. Mezzo said. “Now, not only do we have a plan to finally clean the property, but we also have interest, during these difficult economic times, in redeveloping it.”

The cleanup will be done in three phases; two will be completed this year and the majority will be completed when the ground thaws in the spring, said Al Kovalik, environmental consultant for the project and vice president of GeoDesign Inc. environmental consultants and engineers in Middlebury. The process includes:

Phase one: Clean five lead “hot spots.” Lead will be excavated and disposed of off site this year.

Phase two: Clean petroleum and organic contaminants in the soil in the spring. Contractors will dig six to eight feet underground, remove concrete and debris and treat contaminated soil with chemical oxidants. The organics will be destroyed, the stockpiles will be tested, and the treated soil will be placed back into the ground.

Phase fhree: Inject oxidants into groundwater to clean it on site this year.

The DEP originally denied the cleanup plan. The agency now says the project meets its goals of protecting human health and the environment.

The borough will fence off portions of the site to complete work this year, and that may eliminate some parking spots downtown. A pre-construction meeting to work out details was held last week.

All told, the project will cost $1.4 million. The borough currently has $1.28 million and is seeking state grant funding to offset the remaining $120,000.