Town, Board of Ed Weighing Options for PCB Cleanup at High School

A March 6 open house is scheduled for residents.


Greenwich town and education officials have released reports that analyze the extent of soil contamination at Greenwich High School.

The reports come a week before a March 6 open house for residents who will be able to question officials about the soil and water testing studies and reports  which will be used as the basis for a feasibility study on how to rid the school's athletic fields of the contaminants that include PCBs.

Greenwich Public Works Commissioner Amy Siebert said at a press conference Wednesday there will be a cleanup of the site—that not "doing nothing" isn't an option. But just how extensive the cleanup will be has not been determined.

"The reports will help people understand the context of potential solutions...what do we do next," Siebert said. "We think it's important for people to understand that we did not find elevated risks or an increased risk for users of the site." She added, "Our streams and the pond need a little more study."

Siebert said, "Our next element is the feasibility study. We have a draft…there are numbers being thrown around but they are just estimates." She did not discuss reports that a multi-year cleanup could cost $148 million.

The reports and a draft of the feasibility study will be presented in a public forum at 6 p.m., March 6 at Central Middle School, 9 Indian Rock Ln. The forum will be presented by representatives from AECOM, the Town's environmental
consultant who conducted the site investigations, US Environmental Protection
Agency, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection,
and Connecticut Department of Public Health,  members of the Greenwich Department of Public Works and Board of Education.

According to a summary of the remedial investigation:

• Overall, the sample results from the study show some areas of environmental impacts; these impacts appear to be largely focused in areas where fill material was imported to the campus during the development of the school in the late 1960s (in particular beneath the west parking lot and fields 2, 3, 4 and 5).
• The school buildings were not built on this fill (they were built substantially on top of bedrock), thus the contamination does not appear to extend beneath the school buildings.
• Based on the data collected, the environmental impacts appear to be contained on-site (i.e., there does not appear to be migration of chemicals off the Greenwich High School campus).

The contaminated soil was discovered in 2011 when an initial phase of construction of the MISA project began at the high school's Hillside Road campus. The discovery led to the closure of athletic fields at the school, while tests were conducted by AECOM.

Bill Effros March 01, 2013 at 05:29 AM
Barbara, Here is a comment I posted last year in Greenwich Patch: 8:38 am on Friday, March 23, 2012 GHS is a Superfund site. All the money appropriated last night, and a whole lot more, will be spent by the Town cleaning it up. The process will take years. MISA cannot be built until the entire site is remediated. See this story in The Connecticut Post about the "Raymark" Superfund Site Clean-up: http://tinyurl.com/Residents-Worry Bill Effros Environmental Coordinator MISA-PCB.org
OSR March 01, 2013 at 11:57 PM
This Misa project is just a slap into the face of Greenwich Taxpayers. It is no suprise that GHS as well as all 3 Middle Schools in Town were built on properties that may as well been a dump. How much more money is going to be wasted on soli samples/removal ??? It,s a no brainer, Turn the Havemeyer Building into a Performing Arts Center . People, Restraunts, Bars and Coffee shops would all reap benefit$ from it. Easy access to out of Towners w/ Train and I-95 around the corner. It would be cheaper to build a new building for Board of Ed at the Julian Curtiss property , where the small Millbank Brick building is. hmmmmmmm?????
By River Parks March 03, 2013 at 06:52 PM
News coverage of MISA since the illegal executive session of BOE/BET/BOS gives the mistaken view that there is an actual choice in remediation. This is false. The Town and its hired contractors put highly toxic concentrations of PCBs into the wetlands that now used as athletic fields. Town taxpayers are now on the hook to pay for the full removal and remediation of all 42 acres and any neighboring properties affected. The only option is abandonment of the site and encapsulation of the contamination, re-establishing Ten Acre Swamp as open space (its actual place name as mapped in the Town's Plan of Conservation and Development). The off-setting expense to abandonment would be conversion of other open space to a new high school site, about the same order of magnitude in cost. The consultant's report giving a range of costs did not establish a menu of choices for the tax-payers in the long run to re-mediate down to 1 part PCBs per million. It only gave an idea of how fast the Town would dig itself into a wet hole from which it can not escape, at least in financial consequences. Test reports released last April found 11 hotspots with more than 500 parts per million and 18 others with more than 50 ppm. That's a lot of PCBs. The next shovel in the ground for MISA will initiate a cascading escalation of costs for tax-payers that can not be turned off. But we do have the option to stop before this madness starts, and weigh the only alternative – a new Greenwich High School.
Peter F. Alexander March 04, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Come on you all get real. That would be planning. Not reacting. MISA is just another basement, FAR on steroids.... Yes, just a dent in the Planning by Fiat mess Greenwich helped invent, look at what is going on in Hartford....State Plan Of Constant Dabble is about to be approved...still exempting State and Municpataties from real planning as in watershed and Town Plan by vote, with a seperation of Planning from Zoning. Yes our POCD got something right as in 10 acre swamp lable but after 50 years of Rober Moses style planning, Town is a mess. GIS system is in 10th year and they still do not know what land the Town owns. This 50ish million dabble is just a dent in the Fiat, time for new one ? Soothing the bird nerd ruffles by lock it and leave it style of "conservation" and keeping lawyers and bureacrates with "planning" year after year depending on PE brains to solve glitch after glitch gives a professional thin wax to the disaster vehicle. Developers are a lot less greedy when the only way to succeed is working the rigged system. We need to vote on a Town Plan...have one at the ready...... Our present Selectmen will get it right if we support them, all have breathed the Robert Moses air their whole lives but none have been enriched by drinking the rancid vinegar.


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