Phoenix Soil's days numbered

By Robyn Adams, Republican American

WATERBURY — The city has received a long-awaited court decision that will allow the controversial Phoenix Soil plant to operate in Waterbury for only three more years.

The issue goes all the way back to 1993, when city aldermen crafted an agreement with Phoenix Soil that allowed the company to operate on Freight Street for three years from the date it received its final air permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The final air permit was issued March 23, 1999. Phoenix Soil burns contaminated soil and produces a clean soil that can be used for landfill cover and other purposes.

In 1999, a lawsuit was filed by David Green, owner of Phoenix Soil, against the city, over a cease-and-desist order Phoenix was issued by the city's zoning enforcement officer over the height of its smokestack.

The court sided with Green, noting that the city had issued the permit to heighten the stack, and then tried to take it back. Only later was the cease-and-desist order issued.

On Thursday, Judge William T. Cremins supported the city's contention that the three-year term of the permit began in 1999. But, he said, the city failed to enforce the three-year limit from 1999 to 2006.