STAMFORD -- The city shut down construction of a residential building in the Harbor Point complex after particles of white Styrofoam insulation dusted the adjacent channel of the west leg of Stamford Harbor, state and local officials confirmed Monday.
Robert DeMarco, the city's chief building official, said Monday the worksite at 100 Washington Boulevard was shut down Thursday and would remain so until state environmental officials and DeMarco verified the particles were cleaned up, and that netting, vacuums and other measures to prevent another similar problem were dependable.
The foam material is not considered harmful, but needed to be cleaned up thoroughly and quickly, and steps had to be taken to prevent further problems, Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said.
"They cleaned up what was in the water and are going to use some techniques to prevent it happening again," Schain said. "We certainly don't want materials getting into the water when construction takes place."
Steve Loeb, a boater at nearby Harbor Point North boating facility, took dozens of photos Wednesday and Thursday of the material in the harbor and reported the problem to the DEEP.
Loeb said the material was drifting off the building into the water on Wednesday.
"It looked like snow was coming down," Loeb said. "The DEEP did respond quickly and BLT supposedly stopped work and is looking for a solution."
Monday afternoon, John Freeman, general counsel for Building and Land Technology, said the operation to shape the foam insulation had resumed after the cleanup and revamped protective measures were in place.
Freeman said the contractor cutting the foam for use as insulation is now using netting and vacuum devices to capture any of the material.
"The contractor responsible for the work had a process in place to prevent any release of the foam insulation," Freeman said. "Despite these precautions, there was a release of the material. Precautions are in place to avoid any future incident."
Health Department inspectors referred reports about the discharge to the Building Department Wednesday to ensure the lapse in controlling the material was corrected, City Health Director Anne Fountain said.
"It was already an issue of it being in the water and we referred it to DEEP and made sure they were called in on it," Fountain said. "When it comes to the water, it becomes a real DEEP issue and they take the lead on the investigation."