GREENWICH, Conn. – Trucks and drill rigs have already become visible on the grounds of the fields at Greenwich High School as the town begins yet another round of soil, water, and air testing for the summer. However, a projected final cost of cleanup will still not be announced until late fall.
A total of 340 soil samples will be taken and 15 more monitoring wells will be installed to collect 30 groundwater samples in the areas around the school, as the town and AECOM, an environmental consulting company scramble to work around the school year and athletic offseason. This study is the most “intensive and comprehensive to be completed thus far at the site,” according to a release by the district
The contamination was found in July 2011, when workers excavating parking lots for the school’s auditorium project, known as MISA, discovered soil that was darker than other dirt. Immediate environmental tests began. Low levels of lead, arsenic, barium, volatile organic compounds, PCBs and petroleum hydrocarbons were found.
In this round of testing, ambient air and soil vapor samples will be collected in order to complete a study showing risk to human health. During all drilling activities, workers will monitor the air in the work zone for chemicals and total dust.
The environmental sampling planned for the next two months include 100 soil borings on fields 2 through 7, the west parking lot area, and the southern portion of the site. The town could not previously test under artificial turf fields 3, 4, 6, and 7 because of cold weather.
A few borings will also be completed in the school’s boiler room, which is not expected to disrupt any summer activities going on at the school. The building and parking lots remain open during the work, but all the artificial turf fields were closed on June 25 and will not be re-opened for a few weeks or in late August.
The samples will be analyzed at a state-certified testing laboratory for PCBs, volatile organic compounds, polynuclear aromatic compounds, metals, pesticides, or extractable total petroleum hydrocarbons.
A Hollow Stem Auger drilling machine, larger and more powerful than the Geoprobe drilling machines previously used at the site, will penetrate into bedrock to install monitoring wells and take 30 groundwater samples. These samples will be used to evaluate environmental conditions near West Brothers Brook and Cider Mill Pond to complete an Ecological Risk Assessment.
In both August and September, the town will release project updates concerning status of field access for the beginning of the fall athletic season as well as information pertaining to the results of the investigation. In the fall, the town plans to begin a “feasibility study” to figure out the best cleanup alternatives for the site, including a projected overall cost for the cleanup, which thus far the town has been unable to produce.
The cost of cleanup was a major concern at the May meeting of the Representative Town Meeting when the body approved Greenwich’s $404 million budget for the next year.
The proposed soil-boring locations are available to view on the Greenwich Public Schools website by clicking the link “Updates for Environmental Testing at GHS.”