Oak Hills cited for ‘minor violations’ in chemical storage unit

The chemical storage facility at Oak Hills Park.
The chemical storage facility at Oak Hills Park. (Photo by Yvonne “Myska” Lopaur.)

NORWALK, Conn. – Numerous minor violations were reported by a Norwalk fire marshal in his inspection of chemical storage at Oak Hills Park.

Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy described the violations reported by Fire Marshal Broderick Sawyer as “minor.” Sawyer inspected the Oak Hills chemical storage area Monday and provided the report Thursday to NancyOnNorwalk. It is attached below.

Included on the list of violations are exit doors that aren’t clear, a need to have illuminated exit signs at all doors and missing electrical receptacle cover plates. Oak Hills is required to make fire alarm test records available, to make Material Safety Data Sheets readily available on the premises and separate incompatible hazardous materials. There is a note in the report that employees should not be smoking in prohibited areas and that all employees should be properly trained.

Oak Hills has 30 days to remedy the violations, Sawyer said. An inspection to determine compliance will take place Aug. 21, the notice says.

Golf course superintendent Jim Schell said at the last Oak Hills Park Authority meeting that he is certified in pesticide application, as is his assistant. Oak Hills follows industry best practices, he said.

OHPA chemical inspection report 016


11 responses to “Oak Hills cited for ‘minor violations’ in chemical storage unit”

  1. Yvonne Lopaur

    At the Oak Hills Park Authority’s meeting on July 17 two members of the Authority, Elsa Obuchowski and Joseph Kendy, were dismissive of the concerns that were raised about the storage and use of hazardous chemicals on the course. Then the golf course’s superintendent, Jim Schell, spent many minutes explaining that the chemicals at Oak Hills are being stored and handled safely by trained personnel. And a day later Clyde Mount told Nancy on Norwalk that a Fire Department inspection that had yet to take place confirmed that the chemicals at Oak Hills Park were being stored and handled properly. Now it turns out that when the inspection by the Fire Department actually did take place a few days ago it indicated the chemicals are not being stored properly and that the personnel that deal with them may not be adequately trained. This is just one more example of how the OHPA’s determination to prioritize the needs of golfers has led it to disregard the health and well being of the public at large.

    1. @Yvonne,
      Those comments by Clyde Mount and Jim Schell were in the meeting. Mr. Mount said, “The fire department was there yesterday and did an inspection of the containers,” and asked Mr. Schell about it. Mr. Schell, “Our stickers are faded, we need to update those.”
      The next day I contacted Broderick Sawyer, who said he had been to the course but had not gotten inside the chemical storage facility to do an inspection.
      “I did not see the chemicals or the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) information pertaining to the chemicals on site,” Sawyer wrote in an email. “I did note that placarding on the outside of the storage container had faded. I did not have access to the interior of the storage container.”

  2. TomReynolds

    Hmmmm. . . . how exactly does the public at large come into danger? The storage units are kept in an area of the park that no one goes near. Unless, of course, you are a snooping neighbor hellbent on doing and saying anything that will disparage the OHPA. The minor issues, I am sure, are being remediated. What then will you try to dig up just to see your name in print?

  3. TomReynolds

    Once again, the “Friends” are jumping to conclusions, spreading false “facts”, and trying to discredit the OHPA. When is it going to stop? What do they have against the OHPA? I believe that 6 of the current 9 members are new to the Authority within the last year or so. Let them do their job. They are good people volunteering their time. If the “Friends” have an issue with the former OHPA administration they should let it rest. These people are trying to make the park an overall better place.

  4. Yvonne Lopaur

    Nancy, is correct about the sequence of events. That does not change the fact that Mr. Schell and Mr. Mount misrepresented the facts about the inspection at the last meeting of the OHPA. Before the meeting the fire department had not inspected the chemical containers. But Mr. Schell and Mr. Mount’s remarks left the impression that the fire department had inspected the sheds where the chemicals were stored and found nothing wrong.

    Mr. Reynolds asks what the Friends of Oak Hill have against the members of the OHPA. I can only speak for myself. Good government requires transparency. It requires respect for public opinion.

    Transparency and respect for public opinion are things the OHPA lacks because, no doubt, those who have ended up on the Authority over the years have consciously or unconsciously prioritized the interests of golfers over the interest of the public at large. But I have no intention of impugning the character of individual members of the Authority. What I am criticizing is behavior that indicates they do not see their mandate as promoting the interest of all the taxpayers of Norwalk.

    But to return to the matter at hand, as long as the OHPA continues to use toxic chemicals and refuses to seek Audubon International certification it has an obligation to keep the public informed about what it is doing. The amount of those chemicals it uses and the manner in which it stores them is of concern to everyone who cares about a healthy environment.

  5. Norewalk Lifer

    Call in the DEP, and let them do the inspection, enough already with this Oak Hills nonsense

    Norwalk Lifer

  6. TomReynolds

    “Good government requires transparency. It requires respect for public opinion.”
    Nice concept, but not real American politics. Look at the guy in the White House, who you, no doubt, voter for. Misinformation. Failed policies. No transparency. Disregard for public opinion.
    Should I go on?

  7. Suzanne

    Mr. Reynolds, Your analogy is wanting. Just because any other government system does not perform to good government standards (and I am not agreeing with your example here), Norwalk should race to the lowest common denominator of governance? I would like to think we can do better – we are not a huge town. Government transparency and respect for public opinion would seem the least standard this whirling dervish of town government we have could aspire to and achieve. Expecting or fighting for anything less demeans everyone.

  8. Mea

    The comment about “what danger do these chemicals pose if they are locked up?” I’ll explain, if these chemicals are used at the golf course they are most likely seeping into the water table affecting everyone who uses the water within a five mile radius. That’s why all the neighbors should be concerned. The chemicals don’t just sit in a holding tank they are used on the golf course. That’s why every neighbor should be concerned.

  9. Suzanne

    Perhaps some of that 1.5 million should be used to remediate the leaking oil tanks, test the sediment at water’s edge and check the run off to the adjacent stream for run off contamination.

  10. EveT

    If you are worried about anything leaching into the water table and getting the DEEP involved, the oil tank leakage would be a place to start. DEEP usually does not enforce these kinds of oil leak cleanups because of their limited resources. What does Norwalk’s Conservation Commission have to say?

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