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Madison and Clinton Receive Funds from Unilever Lawsuit

    Published in the Harbor News August 25, 2015

    A lawsuit brought by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency against Unilever, the owner of the former Chesebrough-Ponds plant in Clinton, was recently settled in federal court. The lawsuit concerned possible pollution in the Hammonasset River. As part of that settlement, the Towns of Madison and Clinton each receive $250,000 to be used for environmental improvements in the lower Hammonasset River watershed. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has approved the improvement projects for both towns so that they can move forward on their work.

    Madison’s two projects cover the final closure of the inactive septage lagoons at the Bulky Waste Site at the north end of Ridge Road, and the introduction of an oyster restoration project in the lower Hammonasset River near Salt Meadow Park.

    “I’m very excited about this award, after a year and a half of negotiations”, commented Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson. “We would have to use local funds at some point to close the lagoons, so this is a real saving for Madison.

    “I want to thank Steve Nikituk, Chairman of Madison’s Shellfish Commission, for leading the charge on this,” McPherson continued. “The oyster restoration will be a real boon for the town.”

    Clinton will also use the funds to close its septic lagoon and to enhance its shellfish operations. “Clinton’s lagoons have been a longstanding issue and we can finally properly close them,” said First Selectman Willie Fritz. “We also will be enhancing our oyster program introducing a million oysters into bend in the harbor. These oysters will not only be available to residents as part of a farm share program, but will filter three million gallons of water per day, improving the water quality in the area.”

    Shellfish Commission note: A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. Between natural growing oysters, seeded oysters, and oysters grown by our commercial growers, there may be 5 to 10 million oysters in Clinton waters. At a conservative 25 gallons filtered per day, times five million oysters, they are filtering 125 million gallons of water EVERYDAY.