The Tolland highway garage property has been under the microscope for years. More than 20 years ago underground gas tanks were discovered to be leaking at the site. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) filed a pollution abatement in 1989 requiring the tanks to be removed and replaced with new double-walled units and wells that would take out any extra gas or fumes from the ground. The town also installed 27 monitoring wells to keep tabs on the situation.
The goal post in this case is a number or standard set by the DEP that determines whether the area is considered “clean.” Since the system was put into place in November of 1989, some 382 gallons of gasoline have been recovered. During the last year the system found less than one-half pint of gasoline and with the blessing of the DEP, the system was shut down.
Why hasn’t the town gotten a clean bill of health? Simply put, the goal post keeps getting moved down the field. When the town first agreed with the DEP on a clean-up plan, the goal was to meet the “limits of standards in place.” That number has changed several times over the years as new science was discovered.
It’s understandable that by state law the DEP must review all remediation projects to make sure all standards are being met. This ensures the environment is safe and the public is safe. But I believe when the science changes so rapidly it’s nearly impossible for a town to keep up.
The numbers reported at the Tolland site are lower than they were 20 years ago, and, again. with the blessing of the DEP, the system was shut down. Why isn’t that good enough?
It’s like a contractor telling you the toilet seat has to be a certain distance from the shower in order for it to be “right.” Then, telling you the distance has now changed causing you to rip it out and reset it. It costs you more money and more time with out the use of the bathroom. This scenario can go on and on if the “right” distance keeps changing.
Which is why I introduced Senate Bill 227: An Act Concerning Remediation Standards Under A Consent Order. If passed by the legislature, any remediation standard on a signed consent order would be locked in and not change.
This merry go round the town of Tolland has been forced to ride over the past two decades has meant spending $750,000, lots of frustration and time. If we can use fairness and common sense while keeping safety in mind, this legislation will help a lot of projects finish on time and on budget.