Communities in Action
Rocky Hill, CT: Defending Special Places From Historic Pollution: Protecting Rocky Hill's historic waterfront
Home to the nation’s oldest continuously running ferry, Rocky Hill, Conn. is a special place. In fact, Rocky Hill’s riverfront is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Unfortunately, it’s also home to an old, dirty landfill built in the flood plain of the Connecticut River. Built decades ago, it’s hard to know exactly what is in the landfill. In the late 1970’s it caught fire for several weeks before being ordered closed. Today, its cap is showing signs of wear.
Recently, Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection determined that the landfill had never been properly lined or capped to minimize toxic leakage. The current owner has plans to dump more than 450 thousand tons of contaminated fill, piling it on top of the old landfill, before putting on a new cap. This fill would include toxics such as arsenic, dioxin, lead and mercury. The fill is so toxic that it wouldn’t be legal to landfill it in this way in New Hampshire or Massachusetts!
Rocky Hill is a special place that deserves protection. The Connecticut River was recently designated a National Blueway, and the Great Meadows are some of the oldest continuously farmed lands in the country. Eagles, owls, and four endangered species of birds make a home in the area and in two parks adjacent to the dump.
That’s why neighbors are pushing back. The Rocky Hill Riverfront Preservation Society is a group of concerned residents formed years ago to preserve and protect the riverfront for generations to come. Their goal is clear: They are looking for the “no pollution” solution. Last year, members of the Rocky Hill Riverfront Preservation Society reached out to Toxics Action Center for support. Organizer Claire Miller has been meeting with the group, providing connections to experts and giving organizing advice. One leader said of Claire’s help, “She arrived when we needed her most. Her experience and focus has helped us come together. We are very grateful to have Toxics Action Center’s involvement in our effort.”
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