Officials from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Pfizer Inc., joined North Haven officials and community stakeholders on Sept. 9 to celebrate the completion of remediation activities and the opening of a 57-acre preserve at the former Pharmacia & Upjohn Company site at 41 Stiles Lane.
The 78-acre site has a long history of industrial use, dating back more than 125 years to its use as a clay mine and brickyard, and later when it was occupied by Carwin Chemical, Burndy Corporation, Upjohn Chemical, Dow Chemical and Pharmacia Corporation. These owners of the property manufactured products used in dyes and pigments, photographic chemicals, sunscreen agents, additives for soaps, perfumes and cosmetics; agricultural herbicides, pharmaceuticals and photo-initiators.
All manufacturing ceased at the site in 1993. In 2003, Pfizer Inc. acquired Pharmacia Corporation and assumed responsibility for the site, though Pfizer never operated on the property.
The Sept. 9 event marked the end of a decades-long remediation process, with DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes presenting Pfizer with a Stewardship Permit, which defines long-term obligations for maintaining the property, and a ribbon-cutting for Brick Yard Point, a 57-acre preserve and interpretive trail network adjacent to the Quinnipiac River.
“It’s a pleasure to be here today presenting Pfizer with a Stewardship Permit marking the next phase of life for this property, and Pfizer’s ongoing commitment to ensure the remedy for this property continues to be protective of human health and the environment,” Dykes said. “The remediation of this property and its return to public use is a win for Connecticut’s environment and its residents, and I thank all of the U.S. EPA, Pfizer, and North Haven officials and stakeholders past and present who had a hand in seeing this project to fruition.”
In March of 2011, US EPA and Pharmacia & Upjohn Company LLC entered into an updated Administrative Order on Consent to initiate site-wide remedy design and construction activities. The U.S. EPA-approved corrective measures for the site included the control, containment, extraction and treatment of groundwater at the site, thermal treatment of soil impacted by Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids, dredging sediment from a small area of tidal wetlands, stabilization of waste materials and construction of protective barriers and low-permeability covers to prevent future contact, and placement of environmental land use restrictions to manage and restrict future uses at the site.
U.S. EPA deemed the remedy construction complete in September 2019. In March of this year, DEEP issued a Stewardship Permit for the site which covers ongoing operations and maintenance, including long-term groundwater extraction, treatment and monitoring, maintenance of protective barriers and covers, and maintenance of institutional controls and environmental land use restrictions.
“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of decades of work to clean up and restore more than 75 acres of formerly contaminated property in a manner that provides both public health protection and public benefit,” said EPA New England Senior Advisor to the Office of the Regional Administrator Bryan Olson. “We would like to thank CT DEEP, Pfizer, and the Town of North Haven and its citizens for the many years of collaboration, careful planning, and hard work that led to this great accomplishment.”
A key component of the remediation work was the restoration and preservation of over 57-acres of upland and wetland habitat on the banks of the Quinnipiac River, and creation of an interpretive trail system, totaling nearly two miles in length for self-guided viewing and interpretative environmental education. The Brick Yard Point interpretative trail system opened to the public by appointment on a limited basis on Sept. 15.
Approximately 17 acres of land on the western side of the property has been made available for future commercial or light industrial use.
“Pfizer is pleased to have reached this significant milestone in the remediation and restoration of this former industrial property,” said Russ Downey, director, Pfizer Global Engineering. “This moment is due to the collective vision of Pfizer, USEPA, CT DEEP and the Town of North Haven of restoring the property as a valued asset in North Haven and the Quinnipiac Region. Although Pfizer never operated on the property, the restoration project is a testament to the long-standing commitment on our part, and our subsidiaries and affiliates, to protecting the environment, the health and safety of the general public and our employees, and the communities in which we operate.”