Monday, March 14, 2011

University of Connecticut ( UCONN) Faces Property Contamination Investigation

UCONN and property contamination?
by Duane Craing

The University of Connecticut finds itself in the middle of a rather strange property contamination case.
It seems the university sold about 50 acres of land and buildings to the city of Stamford to be used as a middle school. But as it was leaving in 1998 it might not have followed the right protocols in declaring environmental contamination. 

Now, Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection,(DEP), is crying foul because it found documents disclosing the university generated a reportable amount of hazardous waste and didn’t report it.
The university says the waste was under the limit that is reportable. The type of hazardous waste involved is chemicals used for experiments. But there’s a sticking point over the quantity. Apparently if an entity generates more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of hazardous waste in a month, then it is reportable. The university says it never generated that much in any month and the quantities the DEP is looking at are quantities shipped, and not quantities generated.

If the university looses this argument it may have to pay for an expensive environmental investigation. One investigator says it could cost $20,000 for the investigation and if the DEP imposed a fine then that would add significantly to the cost.

The whole thing gets murkier though because the university now says it never technically owned the property. 

Follow the tale here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The issue is the Connecticut Transfer Act, which requires that properties at which certain quantities of haz waste were generated (or that were historically used for certain purposes) be investigated at the time of sale.

In effect, the CTA and the CTDEP assumes properties to be dirty unless they can be proven otherwise.

The recurring issue of debate is whether the Act kicks in when a property 'generates' the waste, in the conventional RCRA sense of discarding it and putting it in a drum, or when it's shipped, since the Act is triggered by generation, but it's normally documented by the manifests from shipping it. (If this sounds confusing, bogus, inconsistent and stupid, that's because it is).
Posted by Tom Speight