Log In

Reset Password

Car Wash Issued Wetlands Violation For Dumping Wastewater; DEEP To Test Soils



Text Size

The Inland Wetlands (IW) Commission at its January 26 meeting is expected to discuss a wetland violation for dumping wastewater by QuiXpress Car Wash, 1 Simm Lane, which is owned by TMR Realty Newtown, LLC.

A notice of violation sent to Nicholas Walters, owner of New York City-based TMR Realty, said a review of 1 Simm Lane on July 1 and August 13, 2021, “revealed that regulated inland wetlands activities had occurred on [the] property ... that violate the Newtown Inland Wetlands Regulations.”

The violations include a modification of the car wash stormwater system to facilitate dumping of car wash wastewater into a wetlands area and stream.

“Multiple footing drains were modified to accommodate water pumped from trench drains in the wash bay,” Land Use Enforcement Officer Steve Hnatuk stated in the violation letter. “Additionally, it appears that the stormwater basin overflow was modified to move water from the basin into the stream at all stormwater discharge levels.”

Senior Land Use Enforcement Officer Steve Maguire said that the downspout from a drainage tank had been “modified to allow direct pumping into the catch basin and then the stream.”

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will be conducting soil testing to see what contaminants are in the soil, which could include motor oil and soaps.

“We’ll see what the levels are and then determine if we have to look downstream and on neighboring properties,” said Maguire.

The violation letter alleges that the dumping of wastewater into IW regulated areas occurred “at minimum” for a period of four months between March and July 2021, an additional 22 month period between May 2019 and March 2021, and a six month period between June 2018 and December 2018, based on the submitted car wash wastewater pump records as well as from conversations between Walters and the Land Use Office.

“Observations by [the IW] office and Chris Gerke of [the] Connecticut [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] showed dumping occurred at a constant rate any time the car wash was operating,” stated Hnatuk.

Maguire said most car washes are connected to the town sewer line, but there is no sewer line in the area of 1 Simm Lane.

“It’s very expensive [to have the wastewater tanks pumped]; I imagine that’s why they do it,” said Maguire.

Maguire said that the “illegal cuts” have been closed off following the town’s issuance of the notice of violation.

The violation letter says that to comply, TMR Realty Newtown must complete and submit a long-form Newtown Inland Wetlands permit application, that identifies and remediates any affected wetlands and watercourses where wastewater was discharged.

Additionally, a full site survey of the stormwater and recycle tank pipe system for the car wash must be submitted to “ensure the system is functioning as originally designed and approved.” It also states that any further violation of IW regulations will “result in additional citations.”

While the town awaits the results of soil testing, it may mean that action by the IWC is tabled on Wednesday until the results are in.

Looking forward, if the test results come back within acceptable levels, “then that’s the end of it,” said Maguire. If it is found there are contaminants in the catch basin, however, then the Town and DEEP will “have to look downstream and off-site for any impact.”

This is not the first time a car wash at that location has run afoul of Inland Wetlands and DEEP. In 2011 the car wash operating at that site was fined $35,000 for an intentional April 2009 spillage of wastewater, which polluted the site and entered a nearby stream. The car wash at the time was owned by GOV Car Wash LLC, and GOV Real Estate, LLC, both of Redding.

Approximately 2,500 gallons of wastewater was intentionally discharged from underground tank #3 at the car wash. Following the spillage, environmental cleanup workers removed about 120 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a grassy area at the car wash, and also removed about 3,000 gallons of liquid, according to a statement from DEEP.

Besides the $35,000 fine, the court action included a permanent order that the firms comply with state law concerning water pollution and not allow any pollution to occur at the site.

Walters did not immediately respond to a call for comment by The Newtown Bee.


Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

A vehicle emerges from the wash tunnel of QuiXpress Car Wash on January 24. The Simm Lane business is one of four topics on the agenda for tonight’s Inlands Wetlands Commission meeting, following a wetland violation. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply