The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the city of Milford Health Department are working with the new owner of the property where the former Milford Cleaning Village was located to determine the nature and extent of groundwater contamination moving from that site to an adjoining property that is the location of an apartment complex.


The owner of that apartment complex – the Robert Treat Apartments, Robert Treat Drive, Milford – is cooperating with state and local officials to allow access to their site for the investigation and to determine if vapors from the groundwater pose any health risk to apartment residents.  The owner of the apartment complex, Robert Treat Associates LLC, says it is prepared to immediately take any steps that are determined to be necessary for remediation on their site and to protect the health of apartment residents.


A test well on the grounds of the apartment complex showed an elevated level of perchloroethylene – also known as tetrachloroethylene, PCE, and PERC – in the groundwater at that one location. The source of the PCE is believed to be the former Milford Cleaning Village property at 987-995 Bridgeport Ave., where dry cleaning activities were conducted for many years.  PCE – a common dry cleaning solvent – has been detected in the groundwater on the former Milford Cleaning Village property.


            Additional test wells will be drilled at the Robert Treat Apartments June 3.  Groundwater will then be tested to determine the dimensions of the PCE groundwater plume emanating from the former Milford Cleaning Village property onto the apartment complex.  These tests will also show what levels of PCE – if any – are in the groundwater beneath the apartments.


            It is expected that full test results and an analysis of them will be reported back to DEP in about four weeks.


State and local officials noted that the situation poses no threat to the safety of drinking water used by apartment residents.  The Robert Treat Apartments are on a public water system operated by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.  Drinking water for the units comes from a source far from the groundwater beneath the apartments and this water is tested regularly to make certain it meets health standards.


Groundwater is defined as water beneath the ground surface.  Based on data collected from the immediate area of the former Milford Cleaning Village site, groundwater in the area is located at approximately five feet below the ground surface.  Any visible water accumulated on top of the ground surface is directly related to recent rainfall events and is not impacted with PCE.


DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., said, “At this time there is not enough data to indicate if residents are actually being exposed to any PCE. The investigation that is underway will answer the question of potential exposures and will allow health officials to determine if any health risk is present."


DEP Deputy Commissioner Amey Marrella said, “If these tests show there are elevated levels of PCE in the groundwater, it may be necessary to conduct further tests in some buildings.  This would allow us to determine if vapors from the groundwater are migrating through cracks in building foundations and entering into the indoor air at levels requiring remediation.  If this turned out to be the case – and it’s too early to know – steps can and will be taken to quickly and efficiently remediate the problem.”  


Milford Mayor James L. Richetelli, Jr. said, “We are working closely with DEP and DPH to ensure the health and safety of our local residents at the Robert Treat Apartments.  We are all committed to moving this investigation forward as quickly as possible so we can obtain the data we need to have a full understanding of the situation and to develop any remediation plan that proves necessary.”


            Milford Health Director A. Dennis McBride, M.D., M.P.H., said, “Our primary focus is on the health and well being of the residents of the Robert Treat Apartments.  To make certain these residents have a full understanding of the situation, we will move forward to provide them with information through the city’s website and face-to-face meetings.” 


            Robert Treat Associates, LLC., the manager of the apartment complex,  has sent a letter to all residents informing them of the situation, the groundwater wells that will be installed and the testing that will be conducted. 


The former Milford Cleaning Village is located immediately to the north of the Robert Treat Apartments and groundwater flows from beneath that location under the apartment complex.  The Robert Treat Apartment complex consists of 6.93 acres and is occupied by nine buildings and 124 units that were built in 1960.


            The former Milford Cleaning Village property housed a dry cleaning facility from at least 1972 through 2005.  Dry cleaning functions ceased prior to the property’s transfer to the current owner, 993 Bridgeport Avenue LLC in 2006.  The property is currently vacant. 


Subsurface investigations were completed at the former dry cleaning property between 2005 and 2007.  PCE was detected in soil and groundwater samples in concentrations that exceeded regulatory criteria. Remediation measures included the excavation of PCE-impacted soil and the installation of a vapor extraction system inside the former dry cleaning building. PCE detections in groundwater samples indicated that the plume was migrating off the former Milford Cleaning Village property toward the adjacent Robert Treat Apartments property.   


In accordance with the Connecticut Property Transfer laws, 993 Bridgeport Avenue LLC, as the certifying party, has assumed responsibility for the investigation and remediation of pollutants emanating from the Former Milford Cleaning Village.  993 Bridgeport Avenue LLC has secured Consulting Environmental Sciences, Inc., Newington, to complete the investigation on the Robert Treat Apartments property.  Robert Treat Associates, LLC hired Triton Environmental, Guilford, as environmental consultants and to oversee the investigation and any remediation actions that prove to be needed.