First and foremost, your health and safety, and the health and safety of everyone who uses our Town’s parks and fields, is my top priority.
With that said, I’d like to update you on where we stand on park safety, field testing and any needed remediation.
Parks and School Fields
I am pleased to report to you today that the parks and fields we have tested – including school fields – are safe to use. Every one of them.
That is the consensus view of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and our Licensed Environmental Professional, Tighe & Bond, based on an analysis of the soil test results taken at 15 schools and 9 additional park areas.
Does this mean that all fields are open?
While all fields and parks are safe to use for recreational purposes, those areas where testing showed levels of contaminants marginally above the State residential guidelines will be cordoned off until any remediation work is completed. The same goes for the school fields. So, you may see areas roped off on a given field. In some cases this will create a temporary inconvenience for some teams that use these fields for games. However, the Town Parks and Recreation Department and Fairfield Public Schools are working with those teams and coaches to provide alternative options for practices and games. But, I assure you that there is no risk in walking on these fields, playing catch, tossing a Frisbee or any other recreational activity.
Just to be clear – there is no contradiction between saying a site is safe and also saying it will be remediated. While the level of a given contaminant may be above the state standard for residential areas, the amount is not so significant as to create a health risk for typical recreational use of any of these fields. Nevertheless, we will rely on the guidance of our environmental experts and State authorities on determining where and how to remediate. Where remediation is warranted, we’ll do it, and on an expedited basis. Every decision we make will be based on science, best practice and the law…. Nothing else.
Status of Sidewalk Area of Gould Manor Park
We are moving ahead with remediation of the sidewalk area of Gould Manor Park along Holland Hill Road, from Crestwood Road up to the intersection of Parkwood Road and High Street. That work will involve removing the soil on either side of the sideway and replacing it with pre-tested soil to ensure it is safe, then reseeded. We are in the process of selecting a contractor to carry out this work, and I will keep you updated on the progress of this.
Status of School Playscapes
Separately, Fairfield Public Schools is continuing to test the playscapes at the elementary schools, and I know that Superintendent Cummings will be keeping school families updated on their status. As of today, the playscapes at the following schools are being reopened following the receipt of test results that indicated they are safe:
• Mill Hill
• North Stratfield
• Osborn Hill
Supplemental List of Additional Sites Which Received Fill from the Aggregate Pile
We now have a supplemental list of public sites in Fairfield which received fill from the aggregate pile between the summer 2013 and December 2016. That list is now on our special webpage. As you will see, this is a more diverse list of sites, but for the most part these were projects where fill (which might have included crushed stone, screened millings or processed aggregate) was used for such purposes as repairing curbs, sidewalks, asphalt roads, golf cart paths, or drainage projects where such use may have been acceptable according to State guidelines, and pose no health risk. We will be working with Tighe & Bond and relying on guidance from the State authorities on whether and how to test any of these sites.
I want to reiterate that my first priority is your safety, and the safety of everyone who uses our parks and fields.
Unfortunately, there has been some disinformation reported in the media and posted on social media, including claims that toxic waste was dumped on our parks and ball fields. Such allegations are inflammatory and inaccurate, and do nothing but cause unnecessary anxiety and misunderstanding for our Town residents.
I encourage you to visit our special webpage for accurate information on all of these issues.
Please let us know of any questions, concerns or suggestions you have: firstname.lastname@example.org.