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Protect The Land. Keep The Earth Quiet And Undisturbed. Why Build on Contaminated Land?

"This land was deemed unsuitable for development years ago. What has changed?"
This was a long time ago and may not matter...but I want to let people know. I lived on Gratuity Road from 1991 to 2010. I was told by the Realtor at that time that all the private wells on the street had been closed due to a toxic waste plume that was found all along the street coming from a business up on Route 119.
     The toxins had pooled in our wells and I had to sign a legal document saying that I would never reopen the well. I was also encouraged not to plant a vegetable garden. I found out that Gratuity Road was the location of a Tier 1A super fund site (metals, voc’s, svoc’s, that is, contaminated groundwater and drinking water) and that cleanup had been done and monitoring wells established across the street in the woods by the brook. Talk on the street was that years earlier a family had received a sizable settlement when two children were discovered with serious learning disabilities.
     In the late 1990s a developer wanted to build a subdivision in the woods and fields on Gratuity Road and along Mill Street. I became very concerned that the deep digging and earth moving required for basements etc. would unearth these toxins putting us all at risk.
     After submitting a petition from all the residents on the street and lobbying the appropriate committees, it was decided to allow development only along Mill Street, leaving the woods and brook alone. This land was deemed unsuitable for development years ago. What has changed? Why build on contaminated land? I write this letter because I believe that most people who lived through that time are no longer living there and it’s important for people to know this now. I also believe that heavy metals, benzene and other toxic waste do not simply disappear. I wonder if they are still there.
     Do we know? Do we trust the monitoring wells? Do we trust developers and the engineers hired by the developers? I ask the people on Gratuity Road and Jenkins Road to keep up the good work. Protect the land. Keep the earth quiet and undisturbed. Let whatever is there stay settled and stay there. Everyone is healthy now. It’s a great place to live. Keep it that way.
Peg Lorenz
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