Tenants concerned about high lead levels in Putnam

Tenants concerned about high lead levels in Putnam
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 8:01 PM EST
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PUTNAM, CT (WFSB) - A group of Quiet Corner tenants are anything but quiet nowadays after an investigation by the local health department found high lead levels in their apartments.

As a result, approximately 50 tenants have formed a union. Some of them have retained a lawyer preparing to file a lawsuit against The Lofts at Cargill Falls Mill Apartments in Putnam.

Marissa is one of those tenants.

“I was mad, I was heated,” Marissa said.

Marissa recently moved her family out of the complex after about six months of living there. She feared her two-year-old daughter would get sick from high lead levels, amongst other issues.

“The lead poisoning was the icing on the cake,” Marissa said.

The Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) recently found toxic levels of lead in seven apartments with children under the age of six.

“They don’t tell you about the asbestos, they don’t tell you about the lead, they don’t tell you about this, they don’t tell you about that,” Marissa said.

Marissa’s daughter tested negative, but she plans to get her tested again soon.

A neighboring family wasn’t as lucky. Their two-year-old son tested positive and was sick. Fortunately, he’s doing much better now. Scott Camassar represents that family.

“Within a couple of months of moving in they start noticing cognitive decline in the baby, speech delays, he wasn’t reacting appropriately to them and stimuli,” Camassar said.

Camassar is in the “information gathering” stage of a lawsuit which he plans to bring soon against the mill owner and managing realty group, Konover Residential. Camassar represents 22 tenants.

The old lead paint can still be seen in some parts of the apartments, including where children play. It’s on walls, ceilings and beams.

“It’s one of the oldest if not the oldest mill structure in Connecticut, apparently,” Camassar said. “It’s in the paint, it’s on the brick surfaces, on the wood surfaces.”

Some tenants are in a rush to leave the complex, others are staying put due to financial reasons. Some tenants are paying rent, others are holding it.

In the meantime, Marissa is glad to have left.

“These are kids,” Marissa said. “It’s not about us, it’s not about evictions or whatever the case may be. It’s about our children.”

Channel 3 spoke briefly with the assistant property manager of the Lofts at Cargill Falls Mill. She said her, nor the property manager or owner would be interested in speaking about the issues tenants say they’re facing.