Western Middle School Remediation Will Span Most Fields, Not Just Selected Areas

Portion of fields at Western Middle School were closed in August of 2016 after soil samples exceeded the Ct Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) residential direct exposure criteria.

On Monday Greenwich Schools released an update saying additional soil sampling has been conducted at Western by Langan, the Town’s environmental consultant, to better define the extent of contamination. That sampling followed discussions with the CT DEEP, CT Dept of Health and the US EPA in 2018.

Monday’s statement said soil containing PCBs as well as semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and metals was found at depths ranging from 1 to 10 feet below grade and appears to be present beneath most of the athletic fields rather than limited to select areas.

To date, Langan has not identified any compounds exceeding state standards for direct exposure in the surface soils that are open to the public.

Groundwater underlying the site is classified as “GB.”

The ground water is below state standards and is not used as a drinking water source.

The policy of CT DEEP (page 21) in areas classified as GB is:

(A) to eliminate or reduce in the ground water any pollutant which presents a hazard of fire, explosion, or toxic or hazardous emission to the environment or otherwise poses a threat to public safety or an unacceptable risk to public health, and

(B) to maintain the ground water at a quality that will not adversely affect the quality of surface waters to which such ground water discharges or prevent the maintenance or attainment of any designated or existing uses in such surface waters, and

(C) to maintain a quality consistent with all designated and existing uses of the ground water, including its use for drinking without treatment if such ground water has, prior to the adoption of these Water Quality Standards, been utilized for, and continues to be utilized, for drinking water, and

(D) to regulate discharges to the ground water in order to prevent further degradation of ground water quality

The release from the school district on Monday said that since the fields at Western have been open to rain and infiltration since fill was brought in during the early 1960s, the results suggest contaminants are not leaching into groundwater at concentrations that would warrant action.

Last month the Town and Langan met with CT DEEP, CT Dept of Health, and the
EPA to discuss the recent sampling data and a cleanup plan.

DEEP asked Langan for supporting documentation for their review, which the statement said will take place over the next couple of months.

After the review, Langan will provide remediation plans that will likely include:

• Action plans to protect students, faculty, on-site workers, community, and the environment

• Excavation and off-site disposal of soils

• A highly visible demarcation barrier (e.g. orange snow fencing) between residual site material and imported certified clean backfill material

• Backfilling of remedial excavation areas to grade with imported certified clean fill

Once a Remedial Action Plan is drafted, it will be submitted to the regulatory agencies for review.

The time frame for implementation will be based on the review schedules for EPA and CT DEEP, and any additional requests these agencies may have. The plan will also be provided to the community and discussed at a public forum so that the general public can provide comments to the Town and the reviewing agencies.