This past week the City started receiving results back from drinking water tests performed earlier this summer at homes in the Scofieldtown area. The results are very distressing, showing pesticides in well water at several homes.
I am sure that these results are especially shocking to the affected families and their neighbors. It is hard to imagine the thoughts that would come when you learn that the home where you raised and loved your children and grandchildren may have been harming them. My heart goes out to those who are affected, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that the City works to solve this problem, to protect the residents of the area, and to make sure that everyone understands what has happened and what is happening to fix it. I only wish that I could do more.
The first thing that we must do is make sure people have clean water to drink and use in their homes. Bottled water deliveries have been ordered, and we will schedule installations of charcoal filtration systems within the coming week. This is an effective remedy, one that others in similar circumstances have used for years. For the long term, we have already begun to develop a plan to have pipes installed to connect the area to the public drinking water supply. Of course, given the time it takes to carry out that type of improvement, and the cooperation that will be needed from the water company; we need interim measures as well, such as the bottled water and filters.
Next, we need to keep testing so that we fully understand the problem. We need to re-test the positive findings and continue to test further from the affected areas in order to best gauge the scope of the problem. We need to gather technical data about the wells in the area. We may need to drill new wells to monitor groundwater. We have already hired a Licensed Environmental Professional to help us interpret results, recommend additional testing, and ultimately develop a plan to address the contamination and keep residents safe.
Finally, the City needs to implement that plan and be a responsible steward of this problem we have all inherited. It is far too soon to know what may be the best way forward with Scofieldtown, but we can surmise that the solutions will be complex and difficult. Groundwater contamination is hard to resolve in a short period of time; we can’t simply dig it up and haul it away. We need to know much more about what is there, exactly where it is, its source, and how it is moving. This may be more challenging because the City has very few records from during the critical time period prior to the 1960s, which may have helped us to more quickly and easily establish the source of the contamination. Nevertheless, we will rise to that challenge.
Unlike so many generations before us, we face the obligation to leave our community and our environment cleaner and safer than it was delivered to us. We have already begun, carrying out major cleanups as part of many of our projects in recent years, such as Kozciusko Park, West Avenue, the Stamford Urban Transitway, West Beach and many others. Scofieldtown may be our greatest challenge yet, but it is one that we must meet for the sake of our children and grandchildren.