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Workers: Norwalk Oil Spill 'Mostly Cleaned Up'

NORWALK, Conn. – The smell of fuel oil is gone at a Norwalk condominium complex, though the neighborhood isn't back to normal yet. The noise of a generator continued to hum Friday afternoon, and workers from an environmental cleanup company are minding their equipment day and night around a retention pond.

About 300 to 500 gallons of fuel oil from West Rocks Middle School has been recovered from a the retention pond in the Sunrise Hill condominium complex, according to Herbert Recovery Systems Inc. workers, who say the work is going well. The oil was discovered Monday, according to Dwayne Gardner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection' s communications office.

Maintenance work was being done on an oil line that went to the school's burner, Gardner said. The line failed over the weekend and spilled oil continuously into the school's drainage system. The oil made its way down a stream and to the retention pond in the condo complex.

Men working on the cleanup Friday said they did not think there was any further contamination. Gardner did not return a call seeking an update.

Mayor Richard Moccia said an insurance company will pay for the cleanup, but the work at the school may become more costly. Rather than maintaining the lines in the old school, it may be necessary to put in new ones.

He commended the school board for quick action. "They were on top of it," Moccia said. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Tony Dadonna called the mayor's office as soon as he got the news.

Gardner Herbert said "a pretty good portion" of the pond was colored Monday by the reddish fuel. Norwalk firefighters put booms immediately to help contain the spill.

His workers said crews are on the site around the clock, and most of the remaining oil is confined to an area at the far end, where booms surround a drainage pipe.

Herbert rigged a hose to circulate the water in an effort to aerate the pond and help the little fish. That wasn't standard procedure, he said, just something he wanted to do. "I don't like to see anything suffer. I try to do everything I can," Herbert said, adding that the fish are doing better.

The cleanup was going well, workers said. "We've got a pretty good dent in it, and it looks real good," Herbert said. "It's too soon to say, but I don't see it as a long cleanup."

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