Cleanup of Pawcatuck mill site complete

Stonington — Cleanup of the contaminated Connecticut Casting Mill site was expected to be completed by Wednesday afternoon, according to First Selectman Rob Simmons.

He said the property off Stillman Avenue will remained fenced and locked until town officials decide what to do with it.

While Simmons said the likely scenario is to fill in holes with cement, cap it with fill and create public open space and parking, he said the town will not invest any more money until it determines who owns the site.

Simmons said three unregistered boats left on the property will be taken to the town’s solid waste transfer station for safe keeping. He said the town also has been able to salvage 19th century granite window sills and the granite stone that is inscribed with 1848, the date the mill was constructed.

The abandoned and dilapidated mill began to collapse into the Pawcatuck River after a lightning strike and heavy rain on April 15. That forced the town to quickly hire a firm to tear down the mill before more of it could tumble into the river, which could have created a flooding threat and sent contaminated dust into nearby neighborhoods in Pawcatuck and across the river in Westerly.

The Pawcatuck Fire Department has been spraying water on the pile ever since then to keep the dust from spreading. The Board of Finance meanwhile was forced to appropriate $600,000 for the demolition and removal of asbestos, lead and PCB-laden debris, as the owners of the property have refused to address problems on the site and essentially abandoned it, according to town officials.

The town already has placed $147,000 in liens on the property and will add the cost of the demolition and cleanup to that. It is likely the town will end up owning the property.

Simmons has said the town also will look for reimbursement from its insurance company, as well as state and federal grants, to offset the cost of the work.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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