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Hazards in neighborhood

Lebanon Brook cleanup faces public hearing

Signs warning of contamination belie Lebanon Brook’s seemingly relaxing flow through Brookside Village. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Closing your eyes and hearing Lebanon Brook flowing among the trees through Brookside Terrace Apartments is a calming experience as the water ripples over the rocks on its way to the Quinebaug River. Even the chain link fence blocking access to the brook itself doesn't detract from that sense of peace in the area.

But reading why the fence is marked by several signs warning of hazardous materials might cause concern, especially for long-term residents.

One such person is Melissa Bolduc, who has lived in Brookside for most of the last 10 years and has a 6-year-old daughter. Her girl has "severe asthma and other health issues she was born with," but Bolduc hasn't attributed those concerns to the contamination. A friend with her, who didn't give her name, wondered if she should.

"I was here when they had the flood after the last cleanup, where the water came and, we think, recontaminated everything," Bolduc recalled, referring to heavy rains in October 2006. Maps indicate the village is in the Quinebaug River floodplain and mostly within the Wetlands Protection Act's 200-foot protective zone around Lebanon Brook. A similar subdivision would violate the law today, but that was not an issue when it went up in the early 1970s.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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