BERLIN - Toll Gate Road between Orchard Road and Saw Mill Drive has reopened as remediation work of an oil leak in a Belcher Brook stream bed is done.
Dennis Schain, spokesman for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said Belcher Brook stream is now back to its original course, after an abandoned natural gas line near 432 Toll Gate Road was compromised due to aging, causing oil to seep out.
The oil, which was in the system for mechanical purposes and developed from condensation of natural gas, initially tested positive for low to moderate levels of polychlorinated biphenyls - PCBs, a chemical banned in the U.S. in 1979 amid suggestions it could cause cancer and liver problems in people. However, tests of soil showed levels were not high enough to cause contamination, Schain said.
“Some additional testing was done,” he wrote in an email Thursday. “If those results - which will take a while longer to obtain - show any contamination of soil above permitted levels for PCB we will direct Eversource to conduct more cleanup.” He added that the remaining test results will show if there is any contamination, the extent of it, and will dictate remediation/cleanup. Belcher Brook leads to Silver Lake.
Eversource claimed responsibility for the leak as it was an abandoned gas line of theirs that dated back to 1960 when it was last replaced and the utility stopped using it. Eversource will be taking on the financial burden of remediating the leak, both Schain and an Eversource spokesperson previously confirmed.
In the process of excavating the leak, a culvert was damaged that will require 6 feet of it to be replaced, Deputy Public Works director Jim Horbal said Thursday.
With Eversource claiming responsibility, Horbal said, they are developing a plan to deal with the damage and reestablishing vegetation that was removed as part of the remediation. The bridge culvert is still structurally sound, he said. Eversource will bear the cost, he added.
“We’re hoping to have it resolved by winter,” said Horbal, adding that temporary inconveniences may occur as part of the final repair process, such as a road narrowing to protect the disturbed area.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.