The Town Council voted in July to retain an engineering firm to review plans by Meadow Properties, LLC to reopen and cap the town landfill. Tuesday, the council commissioned The Central Connecticut Health District to perform a study on how the community’s health could be affected by the proposal.
CCHD Director of Health Paul Hutcheon defined a “health impact assessment” as "judgments of the policies, programs, and procedures associated with an action as to their potential health impact on a population and distribution within that population."
Hutcheon stressed the need to include "stakeholders,” including nearby residents, the landfill owners, town officials, and The Rocky Hill Riverfront Preservation Society, which has been spearheading the push for environmental reviews of the project, in its assessment.
Despite the assurances that such as study is possible, Councilman Larrye deBear wondered how health district employees will be able to assess the proposal to cap and reopen the dump without being able to enter the site, which is on private property.
"How can you study something without having access to it?" deBear asked.
Hutcheon said that study whether the plans to deal with the landfill would have an effect upon community’s health, not assess the potential health hazards of the landfill’s contents.
Mayor Anthony LaRosa said that the town could've used such a study in conjunction with the plans for the demolition of the foundry. Hutcheon agreed, but said that the foundry project is now too far along in the process for a health impact assessment to be practical at this point.
In other business, the council:
- tabled the idea of placing elementary school sprinkler systems and other fire prevention enhancements on a November referendum; and
- approved the Public Buildings Commission's recommendation to award the high school construction contract to O & G Industries, Inc.
Councilman deBear also briefed the other members on the Economic Development Committee's rekindled efforts to redevelop the property that contains the former Ames headquarters.