On 4/22/04, the CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notified the EPA Region 1 Emergency Planning and Response Branch (EPRB) of an ongoing release at 31 Sorel Drive in Shelton, CT. The DEP had initially responded on 4/14/04 to a release of oil to a private pond, down gradient of Sorel Drive. Upon investigation, the DEP and local fire department traced the oil to a catch basin system on Sorel Drive and eventually to a residence at 31 Sorel Drive. The homeowner refused to accept responsibility which prompted the DEP to access the CT DEP spill fund. Over the next few days, DEP and their emergency response contractor evacuated the remaining fuel from the in-ground tank at 31 Sorel Drive, cleaned out the catch basins, and changed the sorbents in the pond.
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The EPA On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) responded on 4/23/04 to witness the ongoing cleanup efforts. On the following weekend, heavy rains flushed out additional oil from the source and recontaminated the pond and connecting steam. Contractor personnel then excavated a trench in front of the residence and found free product, thus leading to further investigative work. The EPA OSC opened up a Federal Project Number (FPN) with the USCG Nation Pollution Fund Center (NPFC) and after agreeing on a Scope of Work (SOW) with the DEP, entered into a Pollution Removal Funding Authorization (PRFA) with the State on 5/4/04. Since this release threatened a navigable waterway (catch basins to the pond to an unnamed brook to the Far Mill River to a water reservoir to the Housatonic River) the State via the PRFA would be eligible for reimbursement for certain removal costs from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
DEP's initial emergency contractor continued to excavate contaminated soils and installed a recovery system for free product and contaminated groundwater. Due to State regulations, the remainder of the project was put out to bid when 60 days had passed from when the emergency contractor was first hired.
Due to poor performance of the original recovery system, it was upgraded by DEP's new contractor. Some of the wells were reset, new wiring and some new piping was installed, and a new electrical panel and controls were mounted. Groundwater pumping continued until December 4, 2004 at which time the system was shut off for the winter season. During the spring and summer of 2005, the groundwater was regularly checked by the DEP who along with EPA, recently concluded that the source has been remediated and the recovery system could be removed from the ground.