GHS Soil Remediation – “There Oughta be a Law”

Submitted by Bill Effros

We keep hearing from our elected and appointed officials we need new laws to compel them to test the soil before embarking on Municipal Improvements.  In fact there are many such laws already on the books; Greenwich simply chooses to ignore them.

Greenwich Planning and Zoning Commission Site Plan Checklist

“conforms” to the Federal Clean Water Act; meaning almost all items enumerated are required by federal law.  No one in Town has the authority to override these requirements, and it is the Town’s obligation to enforce them.  Failure to properly enforce federal regulations is punishable by fines up to $37,500 per day, and loss of regulatory authority.

The December 3, 2012 Toxic Substances Control Act Administrator’s “Conditional MISA Soil Remediation Approval” requires strict adherence to all Federal, State, and Municipal acts, statutes, and regulations.  This is one of the conditions of the approval, and it is explicitly stated in the body of the approval letter:

“This approval does not release Greenwich Public Schools from any applicable requirements of Federal, State or Local law.”

GHS soil remediation is a Municipal Improvement pursuant to The Greenwich Town Charter.  It must be approved by The Planning and Zoning Commission before it can be put out for bid.  All P&Z checklist items must be completed before a Preliminary Site Plan can even be considered by the Commission.

In contrast to legal requirements, GHS soil remediation plans were developed by The Board of Education in illegal secret meetings without regulatory oversight or public notice.  The plans announced by Greenwich Public Schools in a press release last Friday are not compliant with The Greenwich Town Charter; Connecticut General Statutes; or The Clean Water Act.

This failure to strictly adhere to EPA permit conditions will cost the Town dearly, yet again.

We don’t need more laws; we just need compliance with the rules and regulations already in place.