NEWTOWN — During the Fairfield Hills Authority, meeting on Monday, August 23, Christal Preszler, deputy director of economic and community development, introduced Russell Bartley, a licensed environmental professional who had reviewed the campus before the town purchased the property from the state.

She noted that, since then, he has been helpful through the years in offering advice to the town regarding the campus.

Mr. Bartley noted that environmental studies were performed before the town’s purchase, discovering that most of the serious concerns were concentrated around the buildings, including impact from a burning mechanism used to remove medical waste and some ground contamination at the laundry.

Pesticide application around the buildings built up over the years; modern pesticides break down in a shorter timeframe as compared to chemicals used in the past.

Also lead paint on windows and trim has, over time, leached into the soil.

Mr. Bartley reviewed the standards used to measure the contamination of soil; residential standards are stricter and assume children could come in contact with the contamination.

The original intent was to remediate the soil to the commercial standard but, as the project moved forward, it was possible to achieve the residential standard within budget.

The next step following remediation was to monitor groundwater to see if the natural process would further clean the area.

Mr. Bartley has written a report to put closure on the work done, a six-page letter with attachments to prompt the state to finalize its participation.

His work includes additional options for addressing pesticides, and he has recommended that a note be added to the deed that groundwater is contaminated, which is allowed per legislation and assumes a public water source is available.

When Ms. Preszler asked if one of the pesticides is present at three parts per trillion, Mr. Bartley provided a detailed explanation of why standards are set so low — in some cases, it is not possible to test soil to those low levels.

Those thresholds were set to avoid instances of cancer.

He noted that the contamination rate for one pesticide was 20 parts per trillion and is now at 10; at the current rate of decline, the amount should be three parts per trillion in six to 10 years and there would be further monitoring to confirm this.

The authority unanimously agreed to send the document to the state. Chair Ross Carley thanked Mr. Bartley for his work on the campus.

In other business, authority members welcomed Amy E. W. Mangold, parks and recreation director, and the chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission to discuss the proposed bicycle park on campus.

The park would work with the bicycle sharing program and features bicycle ramps, open to all ages but with specific appeal to those ages 6 to 12.

She noted the importance of getting children outside and the popularity as well as health benefits of cycling.

The park would be about a third of an acre in size or 18,000 square feet enclosed, if it is fenced.

The commission discussed the proposal, debating locations, how construction might work near existing, mature trees and if the park would complement the possibility of mixed use development at Fairfield Hills.

Ms. Mangold said the project would not fall under the Capital Improvement Plan, though she hoped the town would financially support it; she anticipated donations and fundraising efforts to pay for the project.

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