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Roosevelt Drive Oil Site

Site Contact:
Cathy Young


Site Location:
140 Roosevelt Drive
Derby, CT 06418

In the summer of 1994, USEPA responded to an oil release into the Housatonic River emanating from an operating hydroelectric facility located at 140 Roosevelt Drive on the site of the former Hull Dye facility in Derby, Connecticut. This facility housed two electricity-producing turbines which, when operating, were powered by water from an up-gradient canal that is fed by the Housatonic River. Oil-saturated soil and river sediment adjacent to the facility were excavated and an interceptor trench and recovery well system were installed close to the breakout location. In 1999, another oil sheen emerged from the facility tailrace. After shutting down the turbines and a thorough investigation, a second oil recovery system was installed over the suspect source area in August 2000 and was operated until 2013.

Due to a continuing seepage of subsurface oil into the facility tailrace, a sandbag and riprap dam that physically separates the tailrace from the Housatonic River was constructed in 2007.

After years of study and remediation, EPA determined in 2017 that sealing the walls and floor as planned was not feasible and major reconstruction would be necessary to bring the hydroelectric facility back online.

EPA discussed potential options with the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) Case Officer and evaluated the estimated costs of either renovating and bringing the facility back online or permanently shutting down the facility. The NPFC and EPA agreed that attempting to bring the plant back online would be cost prohibitive and the potential for oil to continue to migrate into the river would always be present. In addition, EPA proposed to include an oil recovery system into the permanent closure design so the potential for a future oil breakout to the river would be further diminished.

In 2019, EPA’s technical assistance contractor was tasked with preparing a final 100% design/cost report for sealing the tailrace and permanent closure of the hydroelectric plant, which was completed in early 2020.

Due to funding limitations, only minor preparatory activities were conducted in 2020.  In the spring of 2021, final facility closure began with filling of the penstocks (subsurface pipes that carried water from the canal to the turbines to generate power) with a flowable fill material. After extensive site preparation in the fall and early winter, installation of the sheet pile wall was completed in December 2021.This was followed by pressure grouting in the spring of 2022 to seal the ends of sheet pile wall where it abuts the existing stone walls.

One of the remaining closure-related activities is filling in of the tailrace with a flowable concrete mixture.  This is being done to contain the source oil under the building and not to allow it to migrate through the tailrace and out to the river.  The other remaining tasks include installation of a passive oil observation/collection trench adjacent to the sheet pile wall, and final site restoration.  Due to an unavoidable delay related to ongoing decommissioning issues, filling the tailrace and completing the remaining work will continue through the end of the summer and is expected to conclude by late autumn, 2022.

For additional information, visit the Pollution Report (POLREPS) , Pollution/Situation Report (Pol/Sitreps) section.