The planned Interstate 95 Exit 33 interchange off Barnum Avenue may be compromised: Raymark waste was identified in the area.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation recently identified previously unknown Raymark waste in the area of the new Exit 33 interchange, according to Jim DiLorenzo, a project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The waste was identified in five soil borings out of nearly 50 done as part of the DOT’s geotechnical design work for the interchange. The DOT also detected asbestos waste in other soil borings that were unrelated to Raymark Industries. The waste was located between Barnum Avenue Cutoff and the southbound side of I-95 across from Walmart and is not easily accessible to the public, DiLorenzo said.

The current Exit 33 is a partial “diamond” interchange consisting of a southbound I-95 entrance ramp and a northbound exit ramp. The new configuration, according to state DOT officials, would be a full “diamond” interchange with the proposed southbound off-ramp connecting with Veterans Boulevard on the north side of I-95. The new northbound on-ramp would extend from Ferry Boulevard/U.S. Route 1 northbound on the south side of I-95, and the bridge carrying I-95 over East Main Street will be widened to accommodate the new on-ramp and acceleration lane.

While DiLorenzo said it’s “fairly certain” the waste is the same as the Raymark waste found elsewhere in Stratford, more testing will be needed to verify it.

DiLorenzo said the discovery will likely not change the recently finalized EPA cleanup plan. The agency finalized its plans to remediate waste found in four designated Operable Units, or OUs, throughout town.

OU2 includes groundwater and vapor intrusion and the plan calls for the installation of vapor systems in a variety of impacted buildings and structures to protect building occupants against the intrusion of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater into air.

OU3 covers the Upper Ferry Creek area, the Raymark ballfield site off Barnum Avenue is OU4 and 22 sites around town are considered OU6. The $95.7 million plan involves excavating contaminated soil and sediment from OU3 and OU6 and consolidating it at the ballfield with other waste as well as capping it. The waste at the Interstate 33 interchange would be included in OU6, DiLorenzo said.

“We always anticipated the possibilities that more properties [with Raymark waste] would pop up,” DiLorenzo said. “The decision we had includes that…we will clean up these 22 sites and other properties in the same manner. We have a plan in place. We have no idea of the volume yet.”  

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the state Department of Public Health announced Friday that air and ground sampling and monitoring will be conducted after asbestos was found in the soil at the site of the Exit 33 design and reconstruction. Preliminary indications are that there is no immediate threat to public health, according to the two state agencies.