In a fax sent to city Corporation Counsel John Ward on Wednesday, Paul Denz, owner of the Kresge Building, requested that the city remove “polluted soil” from the property, which he said the city contaminated when it had the building demolished last month.
In his letter on behalf of Mid Block Development, LLC, Denz argues that the city is responsible for the pollution, which appeared after Livable City Initiative Director Andrew Rizzo deemed the building unsafe after a Dec. 12 downtown fire and had it demolished by contractors hired by the city. Rizzo then returned the property to Denz on Jan. 23.
“This letter shall serve as a notice to the City of New Haven that all fill materials dumped on the former Kresges site should be removed at City expense as soon as possible so that no further contamination can take place,” Rizzo wrote in the notice.
According to a report issued by environmental consultants Cambrian Geological, LLC — which the land owners hired to do an environmental survey of the property on Jan. 25 — to the owners of the property on Feb. 4, Extractable Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons were detected in the soil. Cambrian Geological found EPTH in all four samples of soil it took, and one sample had levels that exceed the acceptable residential concentrations of ETPH.
The levels of ETPH mean that the soil may be deemed “polluted” and not a “clean fill.” As a result, the soil may not be removed and deposited elsewhere without the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection, according to the report, so the soil should not have been placed there in the first place and cannot be removed unless the DEP signs off.
City Hall Spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga told the New Haven Independent, in response to the letter, that the city took steps to prevent any such pollution.
“To the extent of our knowledge, the soil was tested before being brought to the site and did not show any contamination,” she said.
The demolition was conducted by Laydon Industries during the month following the fire.