October 28 - November 4, 1998

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City Asks CRRA to Fund Environmental Study

by Andy Hart

The City of Hartford has asked the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to fund an independent environmental study of possible air pollution caused by the Authority's Landfill in the North Meadows and the Trash-to-Energy Plant in the South Meadows.

Several community groups have raised concerns about health problems allegedly caused by fumes and other emissions from the two facilities.

In a letter presented to CRRA President Robert Wright on Friday, Mayor Mike Peters and Hartford City Council called on CRRA to become a partner with the Hartford Health Department in an air-toxic study being conducted by the State Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Connecticut. The study would have "special attention focused on the complaints being raised by the community groups." According to the letter, these concerns range from "potentially contaminated drinking water in and around the North Meadows Landfill to possible asthma-causing air-emissions from the trash-to-energy plant." The letter goes on to ask CRRA to "step up to the plate and fund this study."

CRRA President Robert Wright said he would advocate funding the new study before his board of directors and added "We're confident with a new study, as long as it's reasonable and objective."

Wright reiterated his belief that CRRA's Hartford facilities pose no health risk to city residents and called the trash-to-energy Plant in the South Meadows "one of the cleanest in the state." He added that CRRA has just installed an anti-odor device, valued at approximately $1 million, at the South Meadows facility in response to complaints from Hartford and East Hartford residents.

The request for an independent study was made at a press conference called to announce CRRA's awarding of $717,438 from its annual operating surplus to the City of Hartford. Overall, CRRA awarded $3 million to its 60 member towns.

Peters called CRRA's distribution of the money "turning cash into gold" and praised the organization for "deciding to use this money to help our communities instead of putting it back into their own coffers."

The City has already come up with a list of 13 projects to receive the CRRA funds. They are:

Sidewalks for the north side of Airport Road ($200,000)
Mi Casa Project for Youth ($109,000)
Blue Hills Civic Association Community programs ($70,000)
Riverfront Recapture Development ($60,000)
Farmington Avenue Corridor Study ($50,000)
Naylor School Computer Lab ($50,000)
Annie Fisher School Playscape ($40,000)
Knox Foundation Greenhouse on Laurel Street ($35,000)
Center for Urban Research and Development ($18,000)
Youth Artists Program ($15,000)
Keney Park Pond House for Seniors ($10,000)
Dr. John E. Rogers Library ($10,000)

Wright called the scope of the projects Hartford is proposing "breath-taking" and added "Hartford does a better job than any other town in the way it allocates the [CRRA] money."

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