Farmington canal trail work to begin on SRS site in Southington next month

Farmington canal trail work to begin on SRS site in Southington next month


SOUTHINGTON — A pollution cleanup settlement with the now-defunct Solvents Recovery Service will fund a portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.

The town is working on extending the trail from Curtiss Street to the SRS property on Lazy Lane off Queen Street. Public Works Director Keith Hayden said work, which includes reconfiguring the intersection of Hart and Curtiss streets, could begin in the fall.

When Solvents Recovery was in operation, the distilling process produced clean solvents and fuels but also created unusable solvent that was dumped in unlined lagoons located on the property. The company operated from 1957 until 1991.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people might be at risk if they drink the groundwater. Town wells downhill of the property were taken out of service in 1979 after contamination was found.

The soil contains lead, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls, while the groundwater was found to have isopropyl alcohol, acetone and other chemicals.

Cleanup involved heating the ground and vaporizing contaminants that captured in vapor wells. The thermal work took place between 2013 and last year, according to a site update written by the EPA in July. Capping contaminated soils will take place in conjunction with trail construction this year.

Heavily contaminated areas, such as the Lazy Lane property, are classified as superfund sites by the EPA. Bruce Thompson, project coordinator of de maximis Incorporated, a Windsor environmental project management company overseeing the work, said SRS was the largest superfund site in Connecticut and possibly New England.

A request for proposals was sent out by de maximis last week for construction of the trail from north of Hart Street to Lazy Lane. Hayden said work should begin mid to late September and finish by the end of the year. He said there was no concern about the trail passing through a superfund site. Cleanup of SRS included a cap over some areas of the property. “The trail goes over the areas where they’ve remediated,” Hayden said. “(Trail users) should be protected by the cap they’ve put on.”

Hayden said he’ll make a proposal to change the Hart and Curtiss streets intersection to make the crossing less dangerous for trail users. Currently the trail would have to cross both streets near where they intersect on a curve. “It’s kind of dangerous,” Hayden said.One home at 79 Curtiss Street near the intersection has been struck by cars six times, according to the owners Charles and Cynthia Chapman. The latest was in 2014 when a car crashed into the front porch and door. Hayden plans to create a T-style intersection and have the trail cross only one road. The plan will be brought to the public works committee and also needs approval from Police Chief Jack Daly. 203-317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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