Protect the Partrick Wetlands
Contamination - The upper section of the Partrick wetlands was a gravel mine and then a dump four decades ago. The land has been completely reclaimed by nature and animals. This now beautiful area is stable, but development of the land would disturb the soils and the unknown impurities beneath it. Studies have shown excessive levels of Arsenic and Manganese in the soils and one study outlined how a methane plume exploded in flame 20 feet in the air during studies. No one knows what was dumped illegally there after the mine was closed. (See Site Map)
All of these substances when disturbed would leach into the ground water on the site and in turn into the aquifer which supplies us all with our drinking water. The CT DEP has been called in to investigate this situation and the neighbors in the area have been testing their wells to get a baseline in case problems do arise. We believe it would be prudent not to allow any development and protect our safety. We don't need another Love Canal, and especially not in Westport.
Runoff - Nine of the Twenty Four houses proposed are directly above this aquifer (see Site Map). The CT DEP has called for towns to voluntarily observe a 100' setback from wetlands when houses are above an aquifer. The Westport Wetland regulations allow for an 85-100' setback, but this commission has refused to implement this more conservative setback. They are content to play with our safety by sticking with a 35' setback which favors only the developer.
These houses, though on sewer not septic, will still harm the aquifer. The use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers by the occupants will seep into the aquifer. The actual construction will surely dislodge other contaminants which are in the soil. We are not talking about a single house but 9 over the aquifer and 24 in all on the wetlands.
The liability question still remains unanswered. The original owners of the mine and even two succeeding owners of the land are gone. If a problem does arise from contamination or fouled runoff who would be liable, the Town, the developers? No one has an answer. The town had a chance to buy this land, but didn't out of fear of the liability.
Both of these arguments have been strongly argued, not just by the neighbors, but by expects and the town's own consultants. Yet the Conservation Commission is intent on allowing this development and has failed the citizens of Westport.
Go to the news page and see the articles on this subject.