Bovilsky: That’s why Washington Village is being replaced

An open basement door Sunday at Washington Village. The basement was flooded, Common Council member Ernie Dumas (D-District B) said.

Updated, 12:53 p.m.: Additional comment from Adam Bovilsky.

NORWALK, Conn. — The safety of the tenants is the first priority, Norwalk Housing Authority Executive Director Adam Bovilsky said Monday.

Bovilsky and others said there was no gas leak at Washington Village, which has been the focus of much attention from City health officials and others over the weekend and into Monday.

The Norwalk Fire Department on Sunday found raw sewage in a trench on Day Street, a hole related to the nearby construction of new housing, which has closed the road to vehicle traffic. Common Council member Ernie Dumas (D-District B) and others spotted rats on the street, found water in a Washington Village basement and reported a gas smell.

“According to the Fire Department, there was no gas leak,” said Bovilsky, who has just begun work as NHA Executive Director.  “The Fire Department was called out due to a report of a gas smell and they tested for natural gas.  I do not know who called them, but of course we encourage our tenants to leave the building and call 9-1-1 if they think they smell gas.  The Fire Department responded and did not register any natural gas on their sensors.  We have not evacuated any tenants and neither the Fire Department nor the Health Department has asked us to move any of our tenants at this time.”

Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross on Monday wrote to NancyOnNorwalk:

“Checks of the system in that area by our technicians have resulted in trace amounts or zero readings for natural gas. Repairs will be completed when the source of the natural gas odor is found.

“As a safety reminder, if you smell, see or hear what you believe to be natural gas leaking, remember “smell, leave, tell”:

  • “Don’t turn on or off any lights or appliances
  • “Don’t use your telephone or cell phone in your home
  •  “Don’t light any matches
  •  “Be sure to put out any cigarettes or open flames such as candles
  •  “Leave the building and call us from a nearby phone.  The Eversource gas leak emergency line is 1-877-944-5325”


NancyOnNorwalk was not able to contact Bovilsky on Sunday. Bovilsky wrote Monday:

“{T}here was and still is standing water in the basement of some of our units which is a concern.  The tenants in the effected buildings were already slated for moving as part of the long planned Washington Village redevelopment, and by coincidence, I had signed letters notifying them of the upcoming move and relocation services offered at the end of last week.  They should be receiving 90 day notices to move shortly, but that notice is unrelated to the events that occurred over the weekend.  Obviously if there was an immediate health concern, we would seek to move the tenants far more quickly.

“The water found in the basement of some of the old Washington Village units is an all too often occurring event that my understanding dates back decades.  This is one of the reasons why we are redeveloping Washington Village.  We do not know for sure if it is rain water or tidal water and the Health Department has asked us to test the water before pumping.  We are in the process of having the water tested.”


Mayor Harry Rilling on Sunday said he’d have the Department of Public Works look into the sewage leak, which Norwalk Fire Department Deputy Chief Ed Prescott and others said stemmed from an uncapped pipe.

“I haven’t had the full report back yet but I’ve had staff down there virtually all day,” Rilling said Monday evening, explaining that DPW and Health Department workers had been there along with people from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Eversource and the Housing Authority.

The sewage line was fixed immediately, the sewage was removed and lime was spread, Assistant to the Mayor Laoise King said, explaining, “the rats we think are just because there’s extreme high tides, and construction.”

“Due to the construction, from time to time we have seen an increase in rat activity and then the unusually high tide may have added to that activity,” Bovilsky said in a Tuesday email.  “We have been using a professional exterminator when rat activity has been seen and just asked them to come back based on the reports over the weekend.”


Rick July 17, 2018 at 10:22 am

first of all we need to produce facts the city falls short on expectations all the time with things maybe working with the city would produce positive results.

the fire dept are professionals and work for the city so what ever the professionals do is sometimes not the same as a spokesperson take not there please take that into account.

On 7/16 at 10:58 a call was made to Eversource 1 800 989 0900 to report an odor of gas where both the RDA and road construction rep were standing when I made contact and asked if I could add anything to what transpired sat. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get a xmas card from either they simply didn’t want my presence. I left and made the call.

At 11:11 the gas company showed up and found a gas leak according to ticket number 853097209 responder found a leak in front of building 2 and called in a street crew asap.

I will go back to sat on another post for now Executive Director Adam Bovilsky but for now he needs to do homework. I won’t even suggest anyone who is any capacity who works for the city dealing with this issue to think before the facts are presented it only gives good press and doesn’t address the problem.

No obvious rodent control and the work area the city contractor has is another matter enough pictures were generated to blow holes in what most of the city has said so far. Don’t take my word for it just keep following the factual news media site and not the other. Not one rat box or anything according to the residents have been seen yet any job of this magnitude hs rodent control part of the budget produce bills the city have paid and I then suggest the city isn’t getting their money’s worth .

No obvious lime was spread around the outside of the hole has been seen taking the word of someone not there seems to be the norm for all facts coming from the city.We have workers for housing if they went on record it would be another story. Yes they have cloth filter masks for protection when working in any questionable environment.

I haven’t had the full report on some issues in years I would suggest he certainly was not the one who uncovered the pipe sat to find it not hooked up a video was made from the sidewalk to show the worker was standing in sewage digging to find the problem .

Im sure if we visit what the state had to say when the emergency response director from the DEEP showed up evacuation was an option fixing the pipe was you do it now or we do it what was said to the health agent. The health agent said that to a un named source to the city five minutes later that evacuation was an option. ( i have to verify that and will meanwhile lets have the families with children wait for confirmation )

So far we have talked city trash when do we talk residents health and safety? Its apparent the residents were told maybe in a year or two will the move take place meanwhile please stand by..

There was a party that took place tables and chairs where the rats were coming out of construction debris sat afternoon. pictures were taken from the street showing just that no one there was notified they were sharing a spot with rodents.No sense in going into more detail now city needs to digest this first.

We do have residents say they smell gas all the time and do call the fire dept they respond but because of the nature of the site gas is sometimes elusive. A call log detailing how many times the fire dept would be a good start to clear up any cloud over the fire dept they are professionals have been for years no reason to think them sitting on day st for hours sat getting whiffs of gas would make any difference to miss King.

I will follow up on the evacuation issue in another post but thank you NON for reporting and following up with facts

Adam its time to hire experts the city obviously has to pay per inspection to people some of which have never been been in the field on many of these issues , id feel goo having a firefighter off duty who knows the the layout and has knowledge in fire science the money would be well spent than the city hiring by the hour the mall will need full time staff doing the same thing i also suggest. If the city want to reach out and did the right thing hire people in all departments that have knowledge and not connections. this doesn’t say we don’t have professionals we don’t have enough by the looks of this article .

two years is a long time to wait spinnaker built his 5 story building and has it fully occupied they say maybe spinnaker should replace trinity .

Rick July 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Its like a chess game maybe OSHA now has to weigh in next .

Why the open bulkhead door was left open when rat activity is known needs to be addressed. I though rodent control includes those black boxes along the foundation . We are close to the water without all of this we see boxes all over the place. Ill leave this up to the experts.

I will add house keeping by city contractors is not helping the situation at all.

The DPW should of added any water or contaminants move thru the path of least resistance, can anyone in city say the city blocked any pipes around foundations with clay and other materials?

You have to realize most pipes or utilities in the ground in the past are put in on crushed stone so water or any contaminants can travel long distances until they hit foundations .Pipes coming off main lines to buildings are in stone as well. That’s why some Municipalities use clay at the pipes coming thru foundations slows down water from coming in. Sewer electric gas or water all can come via the underground highway.

Not saying this is the case in Norwalk we defy the averages but its nice to let the public know how underground water can travel for blocks from above locations just as the tide threw crush stone. Its not always whats in the pipe its whats under it.

Lets make it clear Norwalk Housing Authority Executive Director Adam Bovilsky inherited these problems and didn’t create them, thank you again Adam. Im not sure how long he has been there but some say his name on the door is still drying.

May I also point out the picture showing the worker in NON previous first article behind a container surrounded by debris and pipe is going to the bathroom. He made sure he was not seen from any of the windows of the new spinnaker building yet talking to residents he was oblivious kids and parents in building two Washington village was watching him’ I guess the porta potty that was twenty feet away was too far to go

It doesn’t get any better than this.

john flynn July 17, 2018 at 11:09 pm

There is most certainly a gas leak. It runs the length of the complex. I spoke to the gas company. They are scheduling to take up the street as we speak. I spoke to the people on 7/16/18. They have known about it for quite a long time.

They were waiting for another company to remove the cement slabs. Unfortunately no one was notified. The City is denying there is a problem and as usual the street will be taken up and the pipes replaced.

No surprise. I know the smell of gas. What is the possible reason the street will be torn up shortly? There must be a reason they are spending money they don’t have.

Rick July 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm

OSHA thinks Norwalk needs to protect residents and workers from what they have read

Its clearly not the cities problem gas leaks.

Working with the residents and workers is the cities obligation this is where OSHA can step in and work with the city.

Before the experts tell me OSHA cant and wont do anything lets see one example where OSHA works.

Yes there are two divisions in Ct that are OSHA seldom do they agree and join forces, At least now OSHA will look into Norwalk because there was enough given to them that still had meat on the bone.

not the same problem but to those who say OSHA would never look into Norwalks problems and dont do sewage think again.


Travis Simms July 29, 2018 at 9:44 pm

Hmmmmm, well I have been addressing this issue since 2015, when residence complained about the smell of gas and the infestation of rats the size of cats in the Washington Village development.

I certainly hope that Adam Bolvisky will be able address these issue as many of them has been pushed aside by past and current employees of the Norwalk Housing Authority.

As the next State Representative for the 140th district, I will do whatever it takes to hold those accountable to the people of the Norwalk Housing Authority and behind.

john flynn September 19, 2018 at 9:28 am

I have the Fireman’s report in my hand. #05140 Public information.

“While on the scene I also notited occasional whiffs of mercaptain. I was advised by Dumas that residents had been reporting the gas odors for a couple of months.”

I was there. My name is not in the report. I was told by Lt Adam Sussman that the Housing Authority was told to evacuate the buildings. That is not in the report. I confirmed that again on 9/15/18.

The Housing Authority has 40 market rate apartments available.

This is discrimination. Thanks John Flynn 203-561-0840

john flynn September 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

I have left 15 unanswered messages with the Fire marshal and the Fire Chief office. I was told never to return to the Fire Department.

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