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December 6, 2004

Landfill Closure, Re-use Plans Approved

The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved the site closure and re-use plan for the former UConn landfill located north of North Eagleville Road, behind the University’s sewage treatment plant.

A letter detailing the approval was sent to UConn officials Nov. 22. The University now needs wetlands permits to complete the process, which will include installing two groundwater collection – or “leachate” – trenches. The landfill will then receive a final cap of impervious fabric and soil cover. As described in the closure plan, a 700-space asphalt parking lot will be constructed on top of the cap, and two small stormwater ponds will be built to collect surface runoff from the lot, says Richard Miller, UConn’s director of environmental policy. The parking area is consistent with the University’s master plan for North Campus.

Miller says a public meeting will be scheduled, perhaps as soon as mid-January, to explain the capping, permit, and long-term groundwater monitoring process. The meeting will also outline future activities to occur at the site and on adjoining land that UConn will preserve as open space, including significant wetland restoration and wildlife habitat enhancement projects.

UConn workers and private environmental remediation companies have been working to clean, monitor, and formally close the landfill since 1998, under the aegis of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. UConn was required to evaluate thoroughly the nature and extent of soil, surface water, and groundwater pollution emanating from the landfill, former chemical pits at the site, and an ash disposal site adjacent to the landfill. In addition, the University was responsible for proposing and implementing remedial actions necessary to abate the pollution, and for monitoring it on an ongoing basis.

Miller says the DEP approval sets the stage for the work to be completed. He says he hopes the wetlands permits needed to begin construction can be obtained by the spring. The entire process – capping the landfill, building the leachate trenches, and constructing the parking lot – will take about a year to complete.