Calls to revitalize Transfer Act, DEEP says will help environment, create investment in communities with contaminated sites

Environment

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A call to revitalize the Transfer Act and invest in the future of Connecticut cities that are dealing with contaminated industrial sites.

Lawmakers gathered in Waterbury Tuesday, highlighting the Transfer Act during the Special Legislative Session.

RELATED: Legislature starts special session with several initiatives on the agenda

The Transfer Act regulates contamination and cleanup of sites around the state. It focuses a lot of that cleanup when properties are transferred or sold. DEEP says this is when many properties escape review or oversite if they have high-risk contamination.

DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said, “What we are proposing and what is being considered by the legislature in the special session this week is to move CT to a framework called a ‘release-based system’. It’s a system that’s been working well and has been adopted by 48 other states across the country. And under this system, we would have one unified set of regulations that would create clear standards that the private market could transact around, that would help site owners clean up contamination as they discover it – instead of waiting for years until a property is transferred and then having to deal with the monumental cleanup challenge.”

DEEP says that would allow them to focus on the most high-risk contamination that would make the most difference improving the public health and the environment.

Dykes says bringing the Transfer Act up-to-date during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would create more investment in communities, especially in those like Waterbury with industrial sites that have decades of contamination, all near where families are living.

“These are places, locations with the right regulatory framework in place can become thriving job centers and more healthy places for people to live and to work,” Dykes said.

CT is one of the only two states that regulates these contaminated properties through a Transfer Act.

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