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IWC Learns Of PFAS At Car Wash, Has Town Monitor Holly Estates Subdivision



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Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) discussed a wetland’s violation at a local car wash and possibly revoking Holly Estates’ permit during its meeting at Newtown Municipal Center on April 27.

For Application IW #22-02 by TMR Realty Newtown, LLC, engineer Lawrence LePere and civil engineer Alex Magoulas, both of Solli Engineering, represented the applicant.

The application is for a property at 1 Simm Lane, currently occupied by QuiXpress Car Wash, for a wetland violation which requires confirmation for the proper functions of the on-site drainage, the water reclamation system, and the soil testing.

LePere started out by informing the commission that they are working with Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

He noted that Kim Walsh, the licensed environmental professional for the applicant, is out of town and was not able to attend the meeting. While she can speak to more detail, LePere said he would go over some of the soil test results.

“One of the things that DEEP asked us to test for, which we had not originally, was this substance PFAS [per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances], which is a number of substances, apparently 2,700 different chemical compounds,” LePere said.

They found that the site has above what the state has ruled as normal levels.

“The issue is that no one really knows how serious it is, how to treat it, what to do with it when you find it. There are no known methods to get rid of it,” LePere said about PFAS.

He added that no one has been able to tell them what to do with the soil to remedy the situation or where they can bring it.

“I guess what I want to propose to you tonight … in order to close out the violation, we come up with some kind of framework where you say, okay, we have done what we can do to this point, we don’t know what the remediation processes is, but we will make a commitment to work with DEEP to come up with some sort of programming,” LePere said.

He later noted, “I guess I just don’t have a good answer for what to do with the PFAS.”

LePere said that he is open to suggestions from the IWC.

He added that for the remaining soil sample results, DEEP does not think they are “of major concern” for “industrial activities.”

Senior Land Use Enforcement Officer Steve Maguire inquired about the specifics of the other soil testing.

“There was a fairly wide profile,” LePere said and listed off that specifics included, but were not limited to, testing metals, arsenic, mercury, and lead.

LePere explained that there were high readings of aromatic hydrocarbons but that the soil can be aerated to be “easily resolved.”

Maguire pointed out that they were brought to the commission to see if these pollutant levels are acceptable and if they are impacting the wetlands. He asked about if the state has limits for industrial discharge and if downstream testing was being recommended by DEEP.

LePere said Walsh will get back to them at the next meeting with a report.

IWC Chair Sharon Salling asked if there has been a discussion with other car wash owners on how they handle these situations and if DEEP has a reference guide for car washes.

LePere said there have been no official talks with other car wash owners and that levels vary for different commercial businesses.

IWC member Craig Ferris asked if they have a case number with DEEP, and LePere answered that they have an active case number.

Ferris then voiced, “I guess my feeling is if the cause of the problem has been remediated and … it seems to me the best thing to do is to put it in the hands of the DEEP.”

With Walsh anticipated to attend the next IWC meeting on Wednesday, May 11, the commission decided to continue the application to the next meeting.

Bennetts Bridge Road

IWC continued discussing Application IW #22-07 by Lenny Manz, for property located at 62 Bennetts Bridge Road. The applicant wishes to construct a deck and extend the lawn. Manz represented the owner of the property.

Manz submitted a revised site map that now showed the brush and log piles, lawn limits, and proposed plantings.

He shared that the owner has agreed to have the logs and brush piles removed instead of letting them decompose on-site which was the original plan.

IWC member Michael McCabe inquired, “If you are removing some of the logs on the up-slope there, would there potentially be any runoff/erosion coming off of that slope area as it pertains to the wetlands?”

Manz answered, “I don’t believe there would be. It’s very intact over there.”

With no further questions, the commission unanimously approved the mitigation plan for Application IW #22-07 with standard conditions A, B, C, D, E, F, O, and P.

Castle Meadow Road

Another continued application that the IWC discussed at its April 27 meeting was for Application IW #22-09. It was by MD57 Castle Meadow, LLC, for property located at 57 Castle Meadow Road, for the removal of fill and mitigation of wetlands.

Representing the applicant was engineer Jason Edwards of J. Edwards & Associates LLC and landscape architect Tracy Chalifoux of Tracy Chalifoux LLC.

Edwards said, “One of the concerns I think that the commission had, and we felt should be addressed today, is the water coming down from the top of the slope and how that is going to impact the wetlands under construction.”

He explained they are proposing a temporary conversion swale for water to be picked up and a permanent riprap swale for after the construction is completed.

Chalifoux spoke about the commission’s concerns brought up at the last meeting relating to the work sequence and machines used for the construction.

“The work sequence would be to first install the erosion controls and then the temporary divergent … And then in terms of the fill removal, no machinery is going to be staged or situated in the wetlands, she said.

According to Chalifoux, the machines will be perched up top and the machines’ arms can reach 30 feet.

They would put the majority of fill in dump trucks and remove it from the site. Some fill would be used for regrading.

“Then work would be done by hand to carefully excavate trees and to find the native wetlands soil layer that is there underneath,” Chalifoux said.

She mentioned there is also a double row of silt fencing installed.

“Also, part of this plan is the removal of invasive vegetation,” Chalifoux said.

McCabe commented that adding the temporary swale should help.

The IWC then unanimously approved the wetland mitigation plan and proposed site plan for Application IW #22-09 with standard conditions A, B, C, D, E, F, O, and P.

Holly Estates Subdivision

The final item on the IWC agenda that evening was the permit revocation hearing for Permit #20-27 by Negreiro & Sons Construction LLC, for property located at 203 and 211 Berkshire Road (Route 34). Edwards remained at the IWC meeting to also represent this applicant.

Salling noted that at the previous meeting, on April 13, they had “quite a lengthy discussion” about this item of concern.

Maguire said that after that last IWC meeting, he visited the site and found “small issues with some check dams that were not installed. Those were installed shortly after. And [there was] one issue with the sediment basin with the temporary construction outlet pipe that was not removed or capped, so that was causing more erosion. That has since been taken care of.”

He added, “As of now I think the site is in pretty good shape, so I have no major issues as of now.”

Edwards presented photos taken on the site that their team had taken.

He said that the anti-tracking aprons are clean and functioning, sediment basins have been installed, hay bales and silt fencing are functioning, areas have been seeded, and check dams are functioning.

Edwards mentioned that there have been four inspections at the site since the last IWC meeting.

Salling said, “We’re very appreciative that you took this seriously.”

With that in mind, the commission decided that the permit will remain active, and the site will continue to be monitored on a weekly basis.

For more information about upcoming IWC meetings, visit newtown-ct.gov/inland-wetlands-commission.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission considered revoking the wetlands permit for the Holly Estates Subdivision off Berkshire Road (Route 34) due to issues with the project but decided on April 27 to let the work continue. Pictured are hay bales and a temporary sediment trap, as well as dirt and rock piles on site on April 20. —Bee Photo, Silber
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