O’Sullivan’s Island is a brownfields site that was once used as a training academy for regional fire officials. In 2007, Mayor Staffieri had the building demolished. In October of 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began cleanup of the contaminated soil and removal of tanks. The project was expertly managed by EPA’s Boston Office Project Manager, Wing Chau. As a result of efforts by the EPA and Mayor Staffieri’s Administration, the island has been cleaned and approved for recreational purposes.
EPA tested, remediated and removed contaminated material, graded soil and seeded the area. Derby’s Public Works Department also removed debris and weeds along the side of the island. Grass seed and approximately 40 new trees have been planted.
“We are working on the next step which is to create a park for Derby residents. We have come a long way. Next spring I envision residents of Derby and surrounding communities picnicking, fishing here and children playing on the Island. I am proud to be able to create a resource for Derby which showcases our City’s natural beauty. It’’s a great day for Derby.” Said Mayor Staffieri.
“We are asking the State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection for help in turning this open space area into a park. We have turned a contaminated site around and with assistance from the State and others we will be able to provide another venue for Derby residents to take full advantage of all that the Naugatuck and Housatonic rivers have to offer.” said Alderman Ken Hughes.
The city has developed a greenway bordering the Island that links both the Naugatuck and Housatonic Rivers for walking, biking, jogging etc. Next steps include creating a picnic area, possible playground, a field for football or softball and a small beach area.
Video from before the cleanup:
This video was shot in January, 2007 before the demolition of the fire training school and the environmental cleanup began.