Joint meeting on Exide plan Aug. 1

The Conservation, Harbor Management and Shellfish commissions will hold a joint meeting on a proposed Exide cleanup plan Thursday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. in the second floor conference room at the Board of Education, 501 Kings Highway East.

The commissions are scheduled to vote on whether to accept the Exide revised proposal to clean up Mill River next to the former Exide factory, closed in 1981.

An original plan was put forth in January, but objections from Fairfield residents and groups delayed implementation to address concerns raised to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Despite changes, in the new plan, according to FairPLAN, neither Exide, nor DEEP is requiring any inspection of the pipes or of the adjacent land under the so-called “Railroad Drain” or the “Post Road Drain.”

Fairfield asked the state Department of Transportation to accept liability for any lead contamination on its land adjacent to both of Exide’s 1,000′-foot boundaries, if it is found in the future or if it re-contaminates Mill River. The DOT has not responded or indicated it will assume any such liability for lead from Exide that may be on its land, according to FairPLAN.

Once the River is cleaned up per DEEP requirements, then Exide will be released from liability and if lead is found on the adjacent land, Exide will not be required to clean it up. It would likely fall on the state and/or the town to deal with any future discovery of contaminated soil or pipes on the adjacent land, according to FairPLAN.

The Town, and FairPLAN each have the option to accept what Exide is proposing, or to move forward with a  DEEP contested hearing and let the hearing officer decide, and if unsatisfied, to appeal to the court system.

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