Toozy Patza Pizza owner charged for dumping raw sewage

On Friday, June 21, Matthew Criscuolo Jr. turned himself in to Wilton police upon learning of a warrant issued for his arrest. The warrant was issued after an investigation by Wilton officers concluded that Mr. Criscuolo was responsible for raw sewage being pumped from the Toozy Patza Pizza building septic system into the Norwalk River.

Mr. Criscuolo was formally charged with discharging sewage outside of his permitted parameters as outlined in Connecticut state statute 22a-430. The charges under this statute were supplied to Wilton detectives by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

These charges stem from an incident discovered by Wilton police around 12:30 a.m. on  June 4, when an officer discovered an automated pump discharging raw sewage from a septic tank into a parking lot and the Norwalk River.

In an email sent to The Bulletin following that incident, Capt. John Lynch said he could confirm at that time “that we located a hose and pump that was actively pumping septic waste across the parking area and into an area adjacent to the river/wetlands area.”

At the scene, police called the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Wilton Department of Environmental Affairs. John Aceto, emergency response coordinator at DEEP, responded for the state. Pat Sesto, Wilton’s director of environmental affairs, arrived around 1:30 a.m.

A company was called to clean the catch basin and remove what contamination it could, Ms. Sesto said. “The Georgetown Fire Department hosed down the road” and a remediation company sent a truck to suck up the contaminated water.

Mathew Maddox, attorney for Mr. Criscuolo, said his client is a “well-known restaurateur, a conscientious guy, and a respected member of the community who is doing whatever he can to make sure that everyone is happy.”

Mr. Criscuolo also owns Wilton Pizza.

The troubled septic system at 991 Danbury Road — the site of Toozy Patza Pizza and several other businesses — has been an issue since April when Steven Schole, Wilton’s health director, issued several health code violations in response to sewage bubbling up from a manhole cover in the parking lot. Mr. Criscoulo was to submit a plan to permanently remedy the situation.

In a letter to Mr. Criscuolo dated April 5, Mr. Schole said, “Pumping of the septic system is required until a permanent repair is in place. Elimination of this sewage overflow by reduction in water use or other approved methods is mandatory.

“The retail and food service establishments may be subject to closure if the sewage overflow continues.”

Mr. Schole said Mr. Criscoulo hired a professional engineer and they met at the site on April 26 to review alternatives. The leaching area needs repair, Mr. Schole said. It may need to be expanded.

Mr. Schole said, weather permitting, the situation must be remedied by the end of July.

“In the meantime, pumping is required. If that is followed, it’s not a problem. You need a licensed pumper to take the material to a sewage treatment plant,” he said.

“What matters is don’t let it become a public health problem by having sewage come out onto the ground. Sewage cannot be disposed of improperly or come out on the ground or in any watercourse.”

Mr. Schole added, “this situation of a failed septic system and remedies has been discussed with the town attorney.”