GHS Neighbor: Stop Multimillion-Dollar “Emergency” Appropriations

Dear Editor,

The problems at Greenwich High School are not the result of a onetime infill of material.

The campus was knowingly built in a 55-acre swamp that has been repeatedly filled with toxic waste. When we acquired it, the swamp was 40 to 45 feet above sea level and town surveys indicate it is now 60 feet above sea level in some places and at least 55 feet above sea level almost everywhere else.

The difference in elevation is from what the town has been dumping into the swamp — residential hazardous waste, Cos Cob power plant coal ash, industrial waste, and hazardous chemicals. The swamp has been used for 60 years as the secret town dump.

This is confirmed by recent environmental testing posted on the BOE website, which discloses the existence of massive quantities of toxic chemicals, including coal ash, arsenic, chlordane, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These toxins have been spread throughout the campus, at the surface, under the MISA excavation, throughout the 10,000-year-old peat bog and leaching downward onto neighboring properties, groundwater, the drainage ditch surrounding the elevated playing fields, under the Post Road, into Milbrook, and into Long Island Sound.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that it is illegal to put schools on top of toxic chemical storage facilities or to allow children to play in toxic waste. The BOE has sought and received permits that are valid only for Commercial and Industrial sites. 10 Hillside Road is zoned Residential. The deed restriction granted by the BOE will ensure no woman or child will ever again be permitted on the 10 Hillside Road site.

The RTM cannot look the other way. It must insist the BOE submit its plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission for public review and public meetings as required by the charter.

Stop the practice of slipping multimillion-dollar “emergency” appropriations into the annual budget without notice, without required public meetings and without the opportunity for the public to know what has been proposed until after it has been passed.

Bill Effros