Environmental Health

Recent Stories

Next Up For Recycling: Paint

Starting July 1, Connecticut retailers will charge customers a 75-cent surcharge when they buy a gallon of paint, and in exchange, they’ll be able to drop off most unwanted household paint for recycling at participating paint retailers. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Unhealthy Mercury Levels Persist In Our Waterways And Fish

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Wethersfield resident Patrice Gilbert knew that compact fluorescent bulbs contained mercury, so as they burned out, she put them aside until she could find out where to properly dispose of them. One day, she accidently knocked one off the counter and it broke. “I scooped that broken one up, put the other three in a paper bag, put that in a plastic bag and put it in my recycling bin,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do with them.”

Gilbert’s action is typical.  Nationally, only an estimated 2 percent of household CFLs are recycled properly, the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers says.  In Connecticut, only 4 percent of households participate in hazardous waste collection days – where mercury-containing CFLs, thermostats and thermometers should be recycled. (more…) Continue Reading →

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State Orders Clean-Up Of English Station In New Haven

Two decades after New Haven’s English Station power plant stopped producing energy for United Illuminating, state officials have ordered the owners to conduct a massive clean-up of the property, which is contaminated with hazardous PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. (more…) Continue Reading →

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EPA Investigating Toxic Laundry Emissions In New England

2. Ellis washer

The moment Mark Spiro walked into G&K Services, an industrial laundry in Waterbury, the steamy air stung his eyes and made his head ache.  The place reeked of chemical solvents: methyl ethyl ketone, xylene, toluene – the sickly sweet scents of spray paint permanent markers and model glue. On that day in 2007, Spiro, an air pollution control engineer with Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), discovered high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) pouring from G&K’s roof stacks, the result of laundering shop and print towels contaminated with toxic solvents, state records indicate. The state eventually sued G&K, won a $1.8 million settlement and stopped the facility from laundering shop and print towels in Connecticut. Laundering shop and print towels, which are cloths used to wipe oil, solvent and other chemicals off machinery can fuel the release of VOCs above federal limits.  The use and processing of shop towels is largely under-regulated, despite its potential to emit toxic substances into the air. When the DEEP uncovered the chemical release violations at G&K, it alerted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which launched its own investigation into all industrial laundries in New England. Continue Reading →

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Toxic Sites: Hazardous, Hard To Develop

The former Baltic Mills complex in Sprague, now a brownfield site.

Since 1994, close to $60 million has been spent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help rid communities of so-called brownfield sites, including close to $12 million for removing or containing pollutants. But to date only 19 have been completely cleaned and the cases closed, according to the EPA, hardly making a dent in a vast inventory estimated to be in the thousands. Continue Reading →

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West Haven Company On Toxic Waste ‘Watch List’

E.O. Manufacturing, a West Haven company specializing in industrial machinery, has been violating toxic waste laws for at least a decade, despite fines and legal action—a record that has earned it a spot on a national hazardous waste ‘watch list.’

The state claims that the Horton Place facility, which is adjacent to a middle school, was handling and managing hazardous wastes improperly.  Although the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Attorney General’s office initiated action against E.O. more than three years ago, the company continues to dodge penalties and remediation orders.

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