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.
“English Station has been a potential source of pollution to Fair Haven and the waters of the state for too long. It must be cleaned up by all those responsible for its present condition,’’ said Attorney General George Jepsen, whose office is working with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The administrative order announced Thursday requires that the current and previous owners of the plant make a full investigation of the contamination on, and emanating from, the site; submit a remediation plan for DEEP approval that is in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations; and then remediate the site in accordance with the approved plan.
The property, on the Mill River, contains the former electric-generating plant and a warehouse. The parties named in the order include the current owners, Asnat Realty, LLC of Bayside, N.Y. and Evergreen Power, LLC, of Wilmington, Md., as well as Quinnipiac Energy, LLC; Grant Mackay Demolition; and the United Illuminating Company, which previously owned the site.
The plant is shut down, and access to the property has been limited, pending submission of a formal plan to clean up extensive contamination by PCBs, a known carcinogen, as well as heavy metals and other contaminants. The DEEP issued a cease- and-desist order against the current owners in February, 2012, requiring the property to be secured and access strictly limited. The order was issued to block demolition of the plant and assure that contamination would not be spread.
In December, after a series of incidents in which trespassers and vandals gained access to the site to remove metal piping and other materials with value, DEEP and the attorney general’s office obtained a court order requiring the owners to provide around-the-clock security until an acceptable security plan was in place.
The current owners bought the property from Quinnipiac Energy in December 2006. The United Illuminating Co. built the original structures and operated the plant from 1929 to 1992, when it stopped producing electricity there.
After sitting on the property for six years, Asnat/Evergreen announced they planned to demolish the power plant and replace it with a self-storage warehouse. Recycling the scrap metal and oil in the building would pay for this work.
Asnat/Evergreen’s initial plan to implode the structure was blocked by environmental regulators. The companies are in mediation with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. DEEP wants to ensure that demolition will not exacerbate PCB contamination at the site.