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Release Date: 03/23/1998
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - The New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Hartford's Department of Public Works which requires the city to assess and cleanup a 2.9 acre vacant lot in North Hartford at 1950 Main Street, and to pay a $10,631 fine. This agreement stems from an earlier EPA inspection of the DPW when violations of federal air quality laws pertaining to the proper servicing and recycling of vehicle air conditioning refrigerants repairs were documented.

The city was cited for not adequately training and certifying vehicle repair technicians who serviced DPW and city vehicle fleets. The city was also found to be venting or releasing ozone-depleting refrigerants to the air, and improperly using approved refrigerant recycling equipment.

The city has since contacted an EPA-approved training professional to train and certify each technician at the DPW facility who performs maintenance, service, and/or repair work on motor vehicle air conditioners.

The parcel slated to be cleaned is owned by the Hartford Redevelopment Agency. Prior to 1974, a gas station was located at that location. An environmental assessment of the property will determine whether any hazardous substances are present and will be used to determine a cleanup plan. The city will pay up to $32,000 for both the study and cleanup of the lot.

"The citizens of North Hartford have been eyeing this piece of property in their neighborhood for possible redevelopment but have been stymied by the cost of studying it for potential contamination," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator. "Now that the DPW has agreed to do the upfront study and cleanup, neighborhood residents can begin planning for its future use."

O.N.E. C.H.A.N.E. Director Larry Charles said: "It's a great day for our comuntiy when the government finds the way to clear away the obstacles to economic reviatlization in the most distressed section of the city. The residents are grateful for the opportunity to take part in the economic prosperity of our neighborhood." O.N.E. C.H.A.N.E. is a United Way funded community organization with the mission to rebuild North Hartford through community organizing, ownership housing development, employment training, youth services, and economic development.