The town’s building official has sent the owner of a decaying Berkshire Road house a letter informing him that the vacant, rundown building has been condemned by the town due to its deterioration, and is asking him whether he intends to improve the structure to bring it up to habitable standards.
Chief Building Official John Poeltl said April 29 that he has sent homeowner Santiago Britt a letter requesting an immediate response about his intentions regarding the house at 82 Berkshire Road (Route 34).
After investigating a report of suspicious activity having occurred at that house, police determined on April 26, that unusual, but not criminal, activity had taken place there. Newtown Police Lieutenant Richard Robinson said that an investigation found that someone had deposited between 200 and 300 one-gallon plastic jugs filled with urine within two rooms in the house. Although the activity is unusual, it does not constitute criminal activity, the lieutenant said.
The house’s other problems include holes in its roof, interior mold, damaged wallboard, a damaged kitchen, as well as certain external problems, Mr Poeltl said. Town property records list the house as a single-story ranch built in 1971 on 1.36 acres.
State police had referred to Newtown police a report that suspicious activity had occurred at the house, Lt Robinson said. While initially investigating on April 25, Newtown police determined that someone had forced open a rear door at the house, he said.
After finding the large number of jugs of what was then an unknown brown liquid substance, town police contacted the state police’s narcotics investigation unit to determine whether there was some illegal drug aspect to the situation.
State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) spokesman Dennis Schain said April 29 that DEEP believes that the substance found in the jugs was human urine.
Clean Harbors, Inc, an environmental cleanup firm which works with DEEP, transported the urine for proper disposal at a sewage treatment plant, he said.
If the property owner had placed those jugs in the house, DEEP would seek to recover the cleanup costs from him, according to Mr Schain.
About 15 people including state police, state environmental officials, town police, environmental cleanup workers, as well as town health and building officials, went to the Berkshire Road property on April 26 to determine what had occurred there.
The town health department previously has not encountered a urine-storage situation such as the one at 82 Berkshire Road, according to Town Health Director Donna Culbert.
“It was very mysterious,” she said.
Lt Robinson said town police referred the incident to the town Building Department, Health Department, and Fire Marshal’s Office for further action.
Mr Poeltl said the future of the house will be based on whether the owner intends to improve the structure.
Mr Britt could not immediately be reached for comment.