4 Arrested in Investigation Into Use of Contaminated Construction Materials in Fairfield

Fairfield police cruiser

Four people were arrested as an investigation into the mismanagement of contaminants at a Fairfield fill pile continues.

The arrests come as a part of the investigation into Julian Development on the city's Department of Public Works property, which started in 2017, police said. Julian Development is a construction material processing facility.

The investigation revealed that Julian Development had dumped and allowed dumping of a large volume of material on the Department of Public Works' site. Some of this material contained PCBs, lead, and other contaminants, according to police. The material required remediation to a licensed hazardous waste facility, which cost the town about $280,000.

Julian Development was ultimately removed from the site and charged, as were other town officials, following the incident, police said.

The following four individuals were arrested:

  • Emmet Hibson - Former Human Resources Director for the Town of Fairfield
  • Scott Bartlett - Former Superintendent for the Department of Public Works
  • Robert Grabarek - LEP for Osprey Environmental Engineering
  • Brian Carey - Interim Director of Department of Public Works and Conservation Director for the Town of Fairfield

All four individuals were arrested on either Nov. 18 or 19. They all face illegal disposal of PCBs and conspiracy to commit illegal disposal of PCBs charges.

Investigators determined that these town officials had material tested and the test results showed that the material contained various levels of PCBs. They then authorized the use of PCB-contaminated material, according to police.

Bartlett and Carey face additional charges of receiving sold waste without a permit, illegal disposal of solid waste, and conspiracy to dispose of solid waste without a permit.

In 2017, police learned that town officials planned to dispose of the remaining material left by Julian Development on the site. Town officials and a representative of Osprey Environmental Engineering planned to create a berm on the perimeter of the site, which created another expense for the town.

Investigators later determined that these officials knew there were PCBs in the material which was used to construct the berm. The cost of remediation of the contaminated material on the site is $5 to $10 million, according to the current town attorney.

In July of 2019, several other town officials were arrested and charged with multiple illegal dumping charges as well as larceny and forgery charges, police said.

In August of 2019, more than a dozen Fairfield town field and park sites were closed for environmental testing over contamination concerns.

For more information on the fill use issues, click here.

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