This should be news to no one except, perhaps, Peter Tesei

No-show ground breaking ceremony*

No-show ground breaking ceremony*

Soil remediation at high school now projected to take “longer than hoped”.

But good news: we have clearance to take some of the arsenic away.

Soil remediation at Greenwich High School could take as long as four years instead of two, Public Works officials say, following a state agency’s announcement that it will not approve plans to remove PCBs from the ground in time for work to begin this summer. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is, however, expected to approve plans for arsenic removal on the site’s south side early next week.

“This means instead of a 2-3 year project, we have a 3-4 year project,” Public Works Commissioner Amy Siebert in an email to Greenwich Time.

Construction crews first discovered PCBs and other contaminants in July 2011, shortly after beginning work on the high school’s $44 million musical instruction and auditorium complex. Once the town adopted a remediation plan, a start date of July 2014 was set.

However, technical and regulatory complications will prevent the bulk of the plan from going forward along that timeline, said Peter Hill, supervising environmental analyst with the DEEP remediation division.

While arsenic removal remains slated to go forward this summer, it is only a minor part of the overall remediation effort, with PCBs playing a much larger role. The chemical’s presence is restricted to the southern portion of the high school campus, separate from PCB-affected areas.

Hill said the review of the plan has taken into account a large number of factors — both the pollution conditions and the town’s handling of them — in hopes of ensuring the viability and effectiveness of remediation.

“We evaluate the project document, including the remedial action plan, the investigation, the feasibility study and any other pertinent information [emphasis added] to determine if the investigation is complete and if the remedy is protective of human health,” said Hill. “The goal is to ensure that the school will be safe.”

DEEP analysts aim to approve the remainder of the clean-up plan by this time next year.

“We hope that the outstanding details can be resolved this year so remediation can continue in the summer of 2015,” he said. “We are working with the town and the EPA to work toward this goal.”

Brave faces all around

BET officials said they don’t expect the long-term construction costs of the project to change drastically due to the elongated timeline.

[BET Chairman Michael] Mason said the reallocation of funds would not likely have a significant impact on the town’s proposed $396 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The DPW had projected a $6 million request for remediation in 2015-16, a number now liable to increase.

[E]ven with the hampered progress, officials are optimistic. Some had worried that the DEEP would not approve any part of the remediation plan in time to include adequate funds in this year’s budget, stopping the project in its tracks. Now, any progress is good progress.

“If we can at least get started on the south side, that will help keep things moving,” said Siebert.

“It’s a positive for the town that the project will be proceeding this summer, if only on a reduced level,”said Leslie Tarkington, BET liaison to the MISA building committee.

Brace yourself, Bridget, there’s a shit storm coming, to the tune of a billion or so.

* Not a single one of our town leaders had the balls to show up for the official ground breaking ceremony last year, when construction resumed after a two-year hiatus for the soil remediation to be “completed” – they knew to stay away.

[July 13, 2013] On Monday, a row of hard hats perched atop gleaming shovels lay against a trailer near the construction site, props that would ostensibly be used during a groundbreaking ceremony. But no one claimed them for grinning photo-ops. Instead, Board of Education Chairman Leslie Moriarty ventured out at midday as the sole town official to pay a brief site visit.

All of this is exactly as predicted by the Lovable Whack Job, Bill Efros, and FWIW’s official geologist, Michael Finkbeiner.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “This should be news to no one except, perhaps, Peter Tesei

  1. RTM member

    That’s because Moriaty thinks this is her project. She reports to no one. Very secretive. Does she volunteeily brief the BET? No. Does she update the BOS? No. The only time we see her is when she begs for more money. This is outrageous and this project needs to be stopped!

    • Probably the only answer will be to abandon the site and build new elsewhere, but that will take 20 years to accomplish.

      • Question........

        Chris,
        I believe I am correct when I say any additional funding requests must get a 2/3 vote by RTM. Because MISA is being bonded per town charter all additional money’s require such. The RTM vote last time passed by only 3. The BOE wants 2 million more. What happens if that request is not approved by a 2/3. Then what….
        RTM members please opine. Chris?

  2. Responsible government

    Tesei has no idea whats going on. Completely clueless. When the project reaches 50 million he still plans on supporting it. Don’t anticipate him actually questioning the BOE, Moriarty or PTA. Forget it. Lets hope the BET finally sees the light.

    • Republican

      Tesei has no idea whats going on. Why hasn’t he or the two other Selectman insisted Moriarity provide monthly updates. Where have they been. Plausible deniability people.

  3. Greenwich Taxpayer

    Look, the RTM had a chance to scrap MISA before it started and they rubber stamped the project (even the so called fiscally conservative voice of Greenwich Republicans Ed Dadakis voted for it). Leslie Moriarty rushed to dig the hole before someone pulled the plug. Now they have blown through the contingency and have included over $2 million more in this years overbloated budget for MISA that the RTM will probably approve (when was the last time the RTM cut anything from the budget?) The field remediation is way underfunded but the jokers in Town Hall have Amy Siebert and Leslie Tarkington on the case who have no experience dealing with environmental cleanup and the EPA and DEEP. They are relying on consultants who are laughing all the way to the bank. Peter Tesei praises Amy Siebert for a job well done. What a bunch of amateurs. And once again the taxpayers get screwed cause a minority of people in Town want their Carnegie Hall, complete with cofferdam. Disgraceful.

    • Riverside voter

      Well said Greenwich Taxpayer! Moriarti will say and do anything at this point. She runs circles around Tesei knowing in the end our FS will go along with whatever she wants. Its amazing how Moriarity gets away with not keeping all 3 Selectman up to speed. This is all about her and not what’s good for the town. Mark my word we will be at 50 million.

    • RTC member

      Greenwich Taxpayer…
      You are correct. Well said!

  4. Selectmen have to lead.
    Institutional incompetence and sleazy cronyism are expensive addictions.
    They have been let down by today’s operatives and especially Selectmen predecessors.
    All Department Heads who “approved” this slime pit are up for raises this year.

  5. Anonymous

    What happens to all the contractors that were set to begin construction? Doesn’t the Town have contractual obligations to them? I agree that the price tag just doubled with this delay. And, Ms. Siebert just lost all credibility after all the times she said the MISA footprint is rock solid approved by all state/federal agencies. This project should immediately cease and desist and be rescoped.

  6. Peter Tesei knows. I sent him a copy of this Letter to the Editor in March, 2012 with the subject line “The Wild Card”.

    To The Editor:

    In the Recommended Town of Greenwich Budget for Fiscal Year July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013, First Selectman Peter Tesei stated:

    “The wild card in this year’s Capital Plan is the cost to clean up contamination found during the excavation for MISA at the High School. The proposed Capital Plan before you budgets $3.57 million for testing and remediation but at this time there is no way to determine what the ultimate cost will be. It is clear however, that the costs incurred will of necessity decrease the funds available during the next few years for many other worthy projects.”

    The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as “Superfund”, was automatically triggered by the results of the January 23, 2012 Aecom “MISA Investigation Report”. Either the entire High School property and all neighboring properties must be completely encapsulated forever; or 100% of all PCB laden fill, all fields, all parking lots and all PCB laden soil must be safely removed and never replaced.

    Deed restrictions must be placed on all properties abutting PCB contaminated properties, with a federal deed restriction in perpetuity stating the Town is responsible for all PCB contamination, and will pay all future costs if any PCB contamination is ever found anywhere nearby.

    Neither MISA nor anything else can ever be built on the High School property. The wetlands must be restored. 55 acres of clear cut trees must be replaced. All neighboring properties must be tested and remediated at Town expense. Some homes may be evacuated. The Town must compensate all neighbors for the decrease in their property values.

    While it is true “no one can determine what the ultimate cost will be” it is abundantly clear the cost will far exceed $3.57 million, and will probably exceed $100 million depending on results of extensive testing. We must properly budget this expense, now, and not fool ourselves or allow ourselves to be fooled.

    This “wild card” could be a billion dollar joker trumping every other card in the deck for years to come.

    Bill Effros

  7. Anyone who as such a totally cool blog logo has to be taken seriously!
    Well done on every level loveablewhackjob!

  8. “All neighboring properties must be tested and remediated at Town expense. Some homes may be evacuated. The Town must compensate all neighbors for the decrease in their property values.”

    Whack job: In addition to the town reforesting the 55 acres adjacent to you, how much taxpayer moolah are you personally asking for?

    We’ve previously assumed that as a community gadfly, your motives are nothing but pure……..but you are tainting the image of your disinterested benevolence…..