Pesticide contamination at the Country Club of Woodbridge poses no health risk, residents learned at a meeting in late April.
In order to allow residents who live near the Country Club to ask experts about the issue, First Selectman Ellen Scalettar organized the meeting. The Town’s environmental remediation consultants, HRP, presented their findings and representatives from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the state Department of Health and the Quinnipiack Valley Health District were on hand to answer questions. The experts were unanimous in reassuring those at the meeting that there was no cause for health concerns.
The environmental issues at the Country Club have been a continuing part of the discussion about the future of the property. Recently Scalettar asked HRP for an updated cost of remediation (estimated at $650,000) and at that point HRP discovered that they had not filed a final Remedial Action Plan with the state. When the final plan was submitted, homeowners whose property abuts the Country Club were also notified by HRP.
HRP Regional Manager Scot Kuhn apologized for the late filing of the report but assured meeting attendees—only about 8 of whom live adjacent to the Country Club—that no harm had been caused because of it. The experts agreed.
Kuhn further explained that the pesticides found in the soil were commonly used on golf courses and do not generally migrate. The chemical concentration of concern was found in a small area not frequented by the public. That area has been fenced off and a warning sign posted to keep the public away. The concentration triggered a designation as “significant environmental hazard” (SEH), which Kuhn said can sound scary, but “means there’s a potential risk and the state wants to be advised of it and what will be done about it.” It was clear at the meeting that this requirement has been complied with.
“Pesticides stay bound to the soil,” Meg Harvey an epidemiologist with the state Department of Health told the audience. “There are virtually never drinking well problems because of pesticides. There is nothing in these findings to make me worried.”
When asked about potential risk from the SEH, it was explained that someone would first have to come into physical contact with the soil behind the maintenance shed. To do that, a person would have to ignore the warning sign and the bright orange fence surrounding the soil and then touch the soil repeatedly.
In order to be harmed, “someone would have to get the soil on their skin, ingest it or get it in their eyes and do it on a regular basis,” said Patrick Bowe, DEEP Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse Director of Remediation said..