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Western Middle School Fields

Western Middle School Fields Environmental Testing

Project Summary: In the summer of 2016, environmental soil samples were collected from the WMS fields resulting in concentrations of environmental constituents that exceeded the Connecticut CTDEEP Residential Direct Exposure Criteria (RDEC) in portions of the fields. Although concentrations of the constituents identified exceeded the RDEC, they did not exceed Federal or State regulatory thresholds requiring immediate reporting or action at that time. However, after initial consultation with the Town and State Departments of Public Health, the fields were closed as a precautionary measure. Subsequent evaluation of the soils under the field completed in November 2016 identified concentrations of PCBs above CT’s RDEC of 1 mg/kg at three grid locations on the field. At one of the three locations, soil samples were reported to contain concentrations of PCBs above the CT significant environmental hazard (SEH) threshold of 15 mg/kg (15x the RDEC). PCBs were also determined to be above the concentrations allowed under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and its implementing PCB regulations. These findings required consultation with the EPA. Since 2016, environmental testing of the WMS fields has been ongoing and has included continued consultation with CTDEEP, CTDPH, and EPA. To date, over 550 soil samples have been collected across the fields (to depths of 10 feet) to evaluate the extent of impacts at the athletic fields to help design an appropriate remedy for the site.

During the Spring of 2020, GPS joined the voluntary program for a Remediation Action Plan and has been working with both DEEP and EPA. During the summer of 2020, more testing was conducted across the field, and additional water sampling was conducted with newly installed monitoring wells, and an on-site visit was held. The soil analytical results were good and did not contain material above regulatory standards. The GPS team is working together with EPA and DEEP towards a final solution for the fields.

project update

The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) has been approved by the regulators. The RAP was submitted on August 1, 2022, detailing the proposed remediation and restoration for the fields. Following input from the public and the regulators, the RAP was approved by US EPA and CT DEEP in September and October 2023 respectively.

Cleanup activities are expected to commence in November 2023. Charter, the same company that performed cleanup at the high school, has been selected as the construction contractor for the remediation and field restoration work. Mobilization is expected to begin November 2023.

On October 30, 2023, temporary fencing and signage were installed to restrict access to the pedestrian pathway along the southeastern side of the fields. Following contractor mobilization, anticipated for mid-November, access to the entire work zone will be restricted with construction fencing.

Modified school bus routes will be in place to provide transportation to students who normally use the path through the fields to get to and from school.

Cleanup activities will be performed throughout the 2023-2024 school year, weather permitting, and restoration activities will begin immediately after