HAMDEN — Think of it as the big scrape. An entire neighborhood, poisoned for decades by industrial waste buried beneath homes, yards, schools and playgrounds, is poised for the largest residential cleanup in state history.
Evidence of contaminated soil surfaced a decade ago when the Board of Education, intent on renovating the former Hamden Middle School on Newhall Street, found the waste fill in test borings. Further investigation revealed that batteries, empty ammunition shells, ash, slag and coal waste, as well as heavy metals and household trash, was buried at various locations. Elevated levels of lead were detected at 13 homes, triggering an emergency removal by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The removal was considered temporary until a final cleanup is performed.