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Capping of landfill completed on schedule (Released: 11/2/98)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- Workers on Friday completed the regrading and reseeding of the University of Connecticut's inactive landfill, and officials outlined a series of steps to enhance public participation in the continuing site remediation process, including the establishment of an Internet mailing address that will be monitored daily.

The capping of the site, closed in 1987, included reshaping and seeding the 15-acre site to prevent pooling of rainwater and to reduce leachate, and the installation of a series of drainage swales and flumes to direct storm water off the landfill surface.

The interm capping meets all the requirements of the state Department of Environmental Protection. University officials and the environmental engineering firm of Haley & Aldrich, in conjunction with the DEP and in cooperation with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Town of Mansfield, and with input from the public, will complete the design for a detailed hydrogeological study of groundwater in the vicinity of the disposal area. Once the study is completed, a plan will be submitted to DEP for final closure or to remediate any pollutants that may be found.

To date, no toxins or other pollutants associated with the landfill have been discovered in area wells. A comprehensive testing of more than 80 wells in the area, conducted by the Eastern Highland Health District (EHHD), did not indicate any contaminants in the wells associated with the landfill. EHHD and DEP experts will retest the wells later this month.

The landfill has been closed since 1987.

On Sept. 25, UConn officials submitted to the DEP a report outlining the scope of the hydrogeological study that will mark the next step in the process. Once DEP officials approve the report, the study will begin. That study will take a minimum of 6-12 months, as the consultants test surface water and underground acquifers to accurately define the effect, if any, of the landfill.

Once results are in from the hydrogeological study, officials will decide whether the regrading completed Friday is adequate for the future, or if further work is necessary.

Meanwhile, University officials have set in motion a process to obtain public input on the effort, including an Internet address -- universitycommunications@univrel.pr.uconn.edu -- that the public can use to express concerns, ask questions, or make suggestions. The Internet site will be monitored on a daily basis. Steps also will be taken to ensure that the community is fully apprised of all activity at the landfill, including public comment sessions and workshops. The first of those sessions is expected to be held in early to mid-December, with officials and consultants available to answer questions and receive comments. The sessions will last for an extended period of time, to make them as convenient as possible for the community.

University officials also will:

  • Conduct other public meetings on issue-specific subjects or reports, as necessary;
  • Make available all technical documents as they become available, at locations at UConn and in Mansfield;
  • Create user-friendly public information materials relating to technical documents as they are released;
  • Acknowledge written comments received within 15 days, and provide written responses;
  • Develop and maintain a mailing list of all interested individuals who wish to receive information on the process.