Failing commercial septic is a health hazard

A troubled septic system has caused sewage to bubble from a manhole cover into the parking lot at 991 Danbury Road, resulting in public health citations and leaving Wilton businessman Matt Criscoulo searching for the most manageable solution.

“You couldn’t put any more pressure on me than I have on myself,” Mr. Criscoulo said when asked about when the matter might be resolved. The property is the location of Toozy Patza Pizza and several other businesses.

According to Mr. Criscuolo and Wilton Health Director Steven Schole, it is not clear what exactly is causing the problem.

“Out of nowhere the septic tank started to not function properly,” Mr. Criscuolo said.

Mr. Criscuolo said there are two tanks, a septic tank and a grease trap that lead to leaching galleries. “When [the tanks] get high they leach into the galleries and one of the galleries is leaking. From the gallery they go into the ground and that’s the way they work. One is overflowing and not leaching properly.”

He said he tried using bacteria and enzymes but that has not been successful. He was to have the soil tested Wednesday to see how saturated it is.

“I’ve had septic companies pump it out regularly. I’ve had the tanks agitated to remove sludge. ... It’s very expensive to just dig up the ground.”

He said he hoped to have the problem resolved within a week.

Wilton Health Director Steven Schole said several health code violations were issued Friday and “the end of April is the absolute longest time I want to see this go.” His office has received “a lot of complaints from the public.”

Mr. Schole said the matter came to his attention about six weeks ago and has been a problem off and on. He acknowledged Mr. Criscuolo has had the system pumped which has helped in the short term. But a long-term solution has yet to be found.

In explaining how the health department handles a matter such as this he said, “Our first goal is to work with the landlord/owner and get the problem solved.

“In simplistic terms a sewage overflow of this nature needs to be corrected within a reasonable time and as fast as possible and not a Band-aid,” Mr. Schole said.

“Our goal is to work with people to solve these problems,” he said. “If you choose not to solve it you could be fined.” Mr. Schole said Mr. Criscuolo is trying to rectify the situation.

However, Mr. Schole said the problem is beyond quick fixes and the solution requires design and review by a professional engineer.

“It’s all done under a permit,” Mr. Schole said. “It has to be done by a licensed septic installer. We want an engineer to do the design. We want to know the exact design flow. There needs to be cooperation between the design engineer, the installer and us.”

There are many wet spots in the parking lot and Mr. Schole said he did not know if any of the sewage was going into the Norwalk River which flows nearby. Mr. Criscuolo said it is not. He said runoff is being diverted to a street drain on Sugar Hollow Road.

“We are aggressively trying to fix it,” he said.