State funding 'earmarked' for Newington fuel spill - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State funding 'earmarked' for Newington fuel spill

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A diesel spill was discovered at a bus garage in Newington in late December. (WFSB file) A diesel spill was discovered at a bus garage in Newington in late December. (WFSB file)

A fuel spill that's been the bane of a neighborhood in Newington is getting a little help from the state.

Rep. Tony Guerrera, who represents the town, announced on Friday that the state Bond Commission is scheduled to approve a $1.5 million for the cleanup.

Late last year, 19,000 gallons of diesel spilled at a bus garage on Garfield Street behind town hall.

"It was a huge catastrophe as you know, big dollars, so to have that kind of money coming from the state, it’s a big help," said Newington Attorney Ben Ancona.

Officials say that leak was dripping for at least a year and because the Board of Education was responsible for the tank, the $2 million clean-up fell squarely on them.

Guerrera said he knew the consequences were going to be felt throughout town.

"This could potentially hurt the town in regards to tax increases, taking money away from our schools, from the town itself, services," Guerrera said.

The Board of Education made sacrifices to pay for the clean up, and one of those tough decisions came at the expense of a security upgrade at Wallace Middle School.

Guerrera said it made him fight even harder.

"I just kept pressuring the Governor’s staff every week, that this is so important to the people of Newington, that we get this money to help alleviate some of the other issues the town has been going through," Guerrera said.

The situation was so bad that town officials considered tearing down buildings as part of the cleanup.

Neighbors have been fed up with the slow progress. One was arrested this week after his frustrations turned into threats, according to police.

“I have been meeting with the governor’s staff on this issue weekly,” Guerrera said. “It was important to the entire Newington legislative delegation that we secure this funding. The governor and his staff listened to our concerns and came through for the people of Newington.”

Earlier this year, Guerrera said he and other town officials met with members of Gov. Dannel Malloy's staff to discuss state support for the cleanup.

The spill was discovered in December.

Guerrera said the town has since spent about $1 million on cleanup efforts.

“This state money will ease the financial stress on Newington,” he said.

Now that the money is back, officials said Wallace Middle School should be able to get those upgrades.

The Bond Commission is expected to address the funding at a meeting on April 13.

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