FOR RELEASE: November 4, 2016
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CTDOT and DPH Testing for Contamination along I-95 in Stratford

                The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that air and ground sampling and monitoring will be conducted after asbestos was found in the soil at the site of a CTDOT project involving the design and reconstruction of Exit 33 on I-95 in Stratford.  Preliminary indications are that there is no immediate threat to public health, according to the two state agencies.

“There is no reason to believe at this time that the asbestos, which is a known carcinogen, found at the Exit 33 project site is posing an exposure concern to workers or the community,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

At this time, there is no construction activity occurring in the vicinity of Exit 33. The asbestos was detected during preliminary design work for this project. CTDOT found the presence of both Raymark Industries waste and asbestos in surface soils at several locations, although the source of the surface asbestos contamination has not been pinpointed.

According to EPA’s Regional Administrator, Curt Spalding, “This area was not previously investigated during the testing of more than 500 properties by EPA in the 1990s because there was no evidence of Raymark waste being dumped there. Fortunately, in September, EPA announced its final cleanup plan for several Raymark waste areas which provides funding and will allow the Exit 33 area to be addressed in a consistent manner that ensures protection of public health.”

                CTDOT officials surveyed the site earlier this week to determine the best path forward, which will include a testing and monitoring program for the area to measure specific air soil asbestos levels, followed by any specific recommendations once the data is collected and analyzed. The testing is expected to begin in mid- to late November. Furthermore, CTDOT is suspending any roadside maintenance activities through this stretch of I-95 until the situation can be more completely assessed.

“The air and ground monitoring is a prudent and precautionary strategy,” said CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “In the coming weeks, motorists may see crews along the highway conducting these tests. To date, we are unaware of any adverse effects to anyone in this vicinity. We will continue to advise workers and the people of Connecticut as developments warrant.”

CTDOT is in ongoing consultation with the federal Environmental Protection Agency regarding the new Raymark waste findings. CTDOT’s response to the surface asbestos contamination is being coordinated with the DPH, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Department of Labor and ConnOSHA – the Connecticut arm of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. DEEP, specifically, will be involved in the monitoring and any remediation process along with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We are working closely with DOT, state and local health agencies, and the U.S. EPA to ensure that this area is managed in a manner that minimizes risk to public health or the environment,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee.  “Our goal is to work together to make certain the public and on-site workers are protected from exposures to any contaminated soil both now and in the future.”

Like many Connecticut towns, Stratford has been home to companies, such as Raymark Industries and Tilo Roofing Company, using asbestos in their products for decades.  Specifically, CTDOT has identified a previously unknown deposit of Raymark waste located below the surface and not known to have been disturbed in the recent Moses Wheeler Bridge reconstruction activities.