On November 5, 2022, a tanker truck overturned on Route 44, spilling 8200 gallons of gasoline. This page presents gas spill updates from the Town of Norfolk Emergency Management Committee; see the most recent information below. Please direct questions or inquiries to the Selectmen’s Office: 860-542-5829.
Read a short news item about Norfolk’s January 31, 2023, town meeting, written by website editor Kathryn Boughton, then listen to the whole thing. Links to a six-part recording of the meeting have been posted under Resources at the right hand side pf this page.
There will be a third public information meeting Tuesday, January 31, at 7:00 p.m. at Botelle School to update progress being made on the cleanup following the November 5 gas spill. Most recently, the Aquarion Water Company has completed installing a new pipeline on Hillside Street. The company had intended to replace the line anyway, but moved up the job after the gas spill. The excavation has been roughly patched until spring.
In the latest from Town Hall, First Selectman Matt Riiska says that another gas spill informational meeting will be held at the end of the month. In the meantime, monitoring of contamination continues. “The work is pretty minimal right now, but they are still doing a lot of testing,” he said. All Route 44 residents are currently back in a domicile—either their own or, as in the case of the family that rented No. 97 Greenwoods Road, in a nearby house. The families most affected will have to move again when excavation work resumes and stirs up contamination. “We’re working right now on finding places for them to stay,” Riiska said. Extensive gas spill remediation is needed near Pettibone Lane, and that work will have to be completed before all the improvements planned for Maple Avenue are made.
A Town Meeting will be held Tuesday, December 20, at 7:00 p.m. at Botelle School to give the public the latest information about remediation efforts following the November 5 gas spill. The selectmen have promised monthly meetings while the cleanup continues.
Reclamation work on Route 44 continues, although some delays have occurred. First Selectman Matt Riiska hopes to have families there back in their homes by Christmas. At the same time, Aquarion Water Company has decided to run a new water line up Hillside Street, off Maple Avenue, to ensure that three homes served by two private wells do not suffer from contamination from the spill. “Nothing is back to normal,” Riiska said. “A lot of people don’t understand the magnitude of this spill, that this is largest gasoline spill ever in Connecticut.”
Links to a 4-part sound recording of the November 15 town meeting held to discuss the gas spill have been added to this page under “Resources” in the right-hand column.
Work continues to remove contaminated soil from the spill site where a tractor-trailer carrying 8,200 gallons of gas overturned on November 5. Verdantas, the firm monitoring pollution levels, and ESI, the firm doing remediation work, continue to work on Route 44 and Maple Avenue, where families have been displaced.
On Route 44, work will start next week to remove and replace pipes and contaminated soil in the vicinity of 97 and 105 Greenwoods Road East, the epicenter of the spill. Excavation between 97 and 105 will probably continue for a week and a half, but Route 44 will not be closed. Workmen are aiming to get the family back into Number 97 by December 16th; that family is in a rental near the Winsted border. Residents of Numbers 89 and 93 have been put up at Mountain View Inn. Monitoring, testing and, possibly, remediation will continue for months.
Draft tables summarizing soil, groundwater and other data; supplied by environmental consultant, Verdantas. [Note: These preliminary tables were removed by request, 12/6/22.]
At 5:58 a.m. on Saturday morning, November 5, the Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department and Norfolk Lions Club Ambulance were dispatched to a reported gasoline tanker rollover in front of 97 Greenwoods Road East, also known as Route 44. Upon arrival of the first volunteers, the driver had self-extricated from the overturned cab and it was found that the tanker had been breached and was leaking gasoline onto the roadway. Further questioning of the driver revealed that he was carrying a full load of 8200 gallons of gasoline.
Due to the immediate threat of fire and explosion, removal of the residents of nearby houses was carried out promptly. Eversource was notified to cut power to the grid and Aquarian was notified to ensure that we had enough water to fight any potential fire. Numerous local, regional, state, and federal resources were onsite to assist with the containment and continue to be through Sunday and into early this week.
The investigation by CT DEEP showed that the majority of gasoline made its way into the storm drain system along Route 44 or onto the front lawns of neighboring houses. Following the route of travel, the gasoline made its way under Pettibone Lane and into the brook at Maple Avenue and down to the culvert at the 5-way intersection of Emerson Street, Mills Way, Shepard Road, and John Curtiss Road. A sand berm was put into place blocking the movement of gasoline further under Shepard Road and preventing the gasoline from entering the Blackberry River. CT DEEP has continued to monitor the river and there is no evidence that any product has moved that far.
Environmental cleanup will continue for at least the next several days both at the crash site as well as at the stream with contaminated water and soil being taken off site. By 8 p.m. on Saturday, residents were allowed to return to their homes after being metered by the NVFD and cleared of any dangerous levels of gasoline.
—–Extract, press release from Emergency Services Committee, November 7, 2022
A recording of the December 20 Norfolk town meeting.
Update, including maps, by Verdantas, as presented at the December 20 town meeting.
Presentation showing the spill path and locations for the testing points.