Norwalk Park: Brownfield Remediation in Action
A brownfield is a sight for sore eyes: a field of formerly industrial facilities that have gone unused for some indeterminate length of time or were redeveloped before any attempts at a cleanup. Both local governments and citizens often cry out for these areas to be remediated or redeveloped, eliminating the blight, but for any number of reasons projects like these are halted. One example is Norwalk’s Ryan Park.
The 2.2-acre park was built on former industrial land, and contained a number of chemical contaminants including Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), a compound found in many different products before it was discovered to be toxic and a likely carcinogen. In addition to the PCBs, there were two properties with leaking underground storage tanks. Lead based soil was also found.
Since that time, Norwalk has been actively seeking to rectify the situation, working on remediation efforts that would bring the park back to full use. This included digging up and safely disposing of the contaminated soil in a chemical waste landfill or some other method that is approved by the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).
Funding efforts key back to top
These efforts are funded in part by grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a state grant awarded by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in February of 2017.
The park’s remediation could possibly be done by the end of 2018, with additional plantings in 2019. The plans include games tables, a performance area, basketball courts and a fitness area, a walking loop, water area, and even some musical sculptures that invite park-goers to interact with their surroundings.
Connecticut has a continued interest in moving projects like Ryan Park forward, and has given out Brownfield Area-Wide Revitalization (BAR) grants. The 2018 recipients include the City of Ansonia, Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, Towns of Naugatuck, New Milford, Thompson, and the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.