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Inland Wetlands Commission Votes On Two Violation Notices



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After months of discussion, Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) made a decision regarding a car wash wetlands violation during its May 11 meeting.

Engineer Lawrence LePere and civil engineer Alex Magoulas, both of Solli Engineering, represented the applicant, TMR Realty Newtown, LLC for Application IW #22-02. Kimberly Walsh, LEP, Eolas Environmental, also 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 off by telling the commission that he is thankful for their patience during this process. He explained that since Walsh is in attendance, she will explain an overview of the soil testing report.

IWC Chair Sharon Salling quickly posed the question, “The specific results are interesting to us, but ultimately what is the impact that you see on the wetlands?”

In Walsh’s report, she indicated that soil samples were taken in December 2021 and January 2022.

“Really didn’t find much in the way of conventional contaminants in the detention basin. Found some petroleum hydrocarbons consistent with what you would expect from drips and leaks from vehicles and washing into the lower cavities of the earth,” Walsh said.

After speaking with Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), they took a deeper look into contaminants in the catch basin, specifically PFAS.

“Car washes use products that have various PFAS compounds in them, so we wanted to identify whether those compounds were present, particularly in the detention basin,” Walsh said. “We went back out and collected two additional samples and found detections of PFAS as well as other compounds.”

According to prior input to the IWC, PFAS [per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances] encompass approximately 2,700 different chemical compounds.

Mitigation Options

Walsh explained that they evaluated the samples and compared them to DEEP’s criteria. In terms of remedies, one option would be to remove the soil. However, there is no facility licensed or permitted to receive PFAS waste and it would have to go out-of-state.

Instead of removing it, Walsh said their proposal to DEEP was to “encapsulate it by placing a four-inch clay liner system over the top of the impacted shallow soil then topsoil on top of that. The ‘soil isolation system’ that we are calling it would be penetrated with PVC pipe to allow for the operational capacity of the detention basin.”

Salling asked if PFAS will break down.

Walsh replied, “The research on PFAS is evolving almost daily. One thing we do know about PFAS is that it is very persistent in the environment — very persistent. The idea here is that we’re rendering that soil isolated and inaccessible, so that it doesn’t have exposure to rainwater and infiltration from the rainwater.”

She said DEEP is “very much in agreement” with this strategy.

IWC member Stephanie Kurose inquired if this process of encapsulation has been done before and been successful. Walsh said she is not sure if it has been used for PFAS, but LePere said it has been implemented for other contaminants.

LaPere said PFAS are so widespread that they are even in popular home items like Teflon cookware.

IWC member Kendall Horch questioned if they have a maintenance plan and if it will be evaluated annually.

LePere responded that they would probably be required by DEEP to make a maintenance plan, but they do not currently have one worked out.

“I guess at this point what I would have hoped for tonight is that … if you are willing to close out the notice of violation, we will commit to working with DEEP to come up with a plan, which we will then come back to you to tell you what it is,” LePere said.

The IWC and town staff agreed to close out the violation.

A motion was made to approve the application with standard conditions A, B, C, D, E, F, O, and P.

According to the meeting minutes, “The approved plans are: Eolas Environmental Report recommendations, soil isolation system (Attachment D) dated May 10, 2022, and all supporting documents and recommendations.”

It was unanimously approved.

Cider Mill Road

The last item to be discussed was Application IW #22‐05 by Paul Hilario, for property located at 15 Cider Mill Road, for restoration and mitigation of filled wetlands.

Representing the applicants was James McManus, MS, CPSS, JMM Wetland Consulting Services, LLC in Newtown. The property owner was also present.

McManus explained that back in August 2021 they were issued a notice of violation, so he visited the property the following month to create a restoration plan.

“We found about 16 to 36 inches of fill, the average depth was about 24 inches, and I dug a series of trenches,” McManus said.

He marked the wetland boundaries and put up nine flags.

The meeting minutes recapped the Restoration Plan to be:

*The fill will be moved back 10 feet from edge of wetland boundary.

*Silt fence will be installed.

*Upland soils will be stabilized with landscape seed mix.

*Sediment in the wetlands will be removed with handheld tools.

*Berry shrubs will be planted in the affected areas. They will create a thick buffer.

McManus noted that he proposed the progress be monitored for two growing seasons.

“Hopefully that will satisfy everyone’s needs,” he said.

Salling said that when stabilizing the landscape, she prefers “landscape seed mix” as opposed to lawn mix.

The application was approved unanimously with standard conditions A, B, C, D, E, F, O, and P for its Figure 2 Proposed Planting Plan.

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

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

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