The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced today that remediation work has begun at the contaminated Pharmacia & Upjohn manufacturing facility at 41 Stiles Lane in North Haven.
According to an agreement between the EPA and Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC, extensive cleanup at the site will allow the space to function as a public outdoor site and a base for light industry and commerce.
The effort, which will include the installation of a subsurface barrier wall to prevent contaminated groundwater from reaching the Quinnipiac River, the ongoing extraction and treatment of contaminated soil, and the establishment of stringent land use restrictions, is estimated to cost $150 million, with payment assured by Pharmacia & Upjohn's parent company Pfizer Inc.
“We’re glad to be reaching this stage at one of the region’s biggest RCRA Corrective Action sites,” stated Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, in a press release issued today. “To get to this point took a lot of effort and cooperation from many stakeholders, including Pfizer, CT DEP, the town, community groups, and EPA.”
The Upjohn & Pharmacia site is one of several EPA cleanup projects underway in North Haven. At the end of last year, an EPA plan to close the Tire Pond generated controversy when residents grew concerned that soil from the Newhall neighborhood in Hamden would be imported across town lines. The EPA has since denied these rumors.
Prior to a 1989 EPA order that Upjohn begin studying the extent of contamination at the site, owners of the property used the land to dispose of manufacturing wastes and wastewater treatment residuals containing organic chemicals and metals such as PCBs, volatile organic compounds, and lead.
Throughout the 90s, Upjohn was ordered to continue monitoring and researching remediation alternatives for the site. When Pharmacia was acquired by Pfizer in 2003, the corporation assumed responsibility with the EPA for cleanup efforts.
Per a March 31 consent order, Pfizer will now secure funds to jump-start the $150 million re-development proposal.
According to Pharmacia & Upjohn's website, about seventeen acres of land will be remediated for commercial use, while 60 acres of tidal marshes, inland wetlands and upland meadows will be established as an ecological preserve, opening up the opportunity for community groups and schools to visit and study the site.