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Aquifer Protection Endorsement Conveyed For Industrial Project

Published: August 11, 2018 at 12:00 am


A proposal to construct an 8,300-square-foot industrial building at 3 Turnberry Lane in Curtis Corporate Park in Sandy Hook gained an aquifer protection endorsement this week from the Aquifer Protection Agency (APA).

In their unanimous August 8 endorsement, APA members Chairman Sharon Salling, John Davin, Kristen Hammar, Craig Ferris, Suzanne Guidera, and Michael McCabe voted in favor. The APA endorsement will be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), which is scheduled to continue its review of the project at an August 16 public hearing.

Engineer Steve Trinkaus of Trinkaus Engineering LLC of Southbury, representing applicant 3 Turnberry Lane LLC of Bethel, told APA members that an aquifer protection review of the 1.01-acre property in an M-4 (Industrial) zone had been performed in 2008 for a flooring firm, which had planned to locate at the vacant site but never did.

The prime occupant of the proposed building would be Lawn Doctor LLC, a lawn maintenance firm. Other spaces in the building would be occupied by various trades businesses.

Recently, Mr Trinkaus submitted to the APA the 2008 aquifer protection report for review. The site lies in the town's Aquifer Protection District (APD), a land use overlay zone created in June 1999 by the P&Z as a safeguard to protect the water quality in the underlying Pootatuck Aquifer. The subterranean water body is the town's sole source aquifer, serving as the source of two public water supplies and widespread individual domestic water wells.

The 2008 aquifer report states that the flooring firm, which wanted to occupy a proposed 8,600-square-foot building, did not need to formulate any emergency plans to protect against spills and to control leaks and spills of hazardous materials at the site, which has sandy soil.

Mr Trinkaus told APA members August 8 that Lawn Doctor would be storing bags of dry fertilizer that would be stacked on pallets inside the building. When required, a bag of fertilizer would be removed from a stack, placed on a pickup truck and then driven to the site where Lawn Doctor would mix the dry fertilizer with water and then apply the solution to a lawn, Mr Trinkaus said.

The pickup trucks used by the firm would be kept at workers' homes overnight.

Ms Salling asked Mr Trinkaus if there are any factors that would cause a ten-year-old aquifer protection report on the site to go out-of-date. Mr Trinkaus said there are not.

But Ms Guidera noted that the proposed use of the site has changed. In response, Mr Trinkaus said that the dry fertilizer is not flammable.

The building would have concrete floors and no floor drains, he said. If some dry fertilizer were to spill from a bag inside the building, it could then be swept up.

Mr McCabe asked about the possibility of dry fertilizer dissolving after becoming wet during a firefighting situation.

"It [fertilizer] can't escape," Mr Trinkaus said, noting that the bagged fertilizer would be stored within the building, far away from its garage doors.

Ms Guidera asked what would happen if the fertilizer made its way into the underlying aquifer.

"It's not pesticide. It's a fertilizer," was the engineer's response.

Mr Trinkaus told APA members that the firm would need to obtain various state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) permits to handle certain lawn chemicals other than the fertilizer.

Lawn Doctor obtains its pesticides directly from manufacturers and then uses those chemicals on lawns, he said. Keeping toxic chemicals at the proposed industrial building would make doing business there more complicated for Lawn Doctor, Mr Trinkaus noted.

Mr McCabe said that if Lawn Doctor's plans for its business change, the firm would need to return to the APA for additional review.

Also, the proposed 8,300-square-foot building would have three individual tenant spaces for tradesmen, such as plumbers and electricians, whose activities at the site would be subject to

APA review. Lawn Doctor would occupy 3,000 square feet of commercial space, plus 800 square feet of office space. There would be three separate 1,500-square-foot spaces suitable for occupancy by tradesman.

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