First they had to deal with the contaminated soil left behind by the manufacturing that took place long before their homes were built.
Now they have to deal with the side effects of the clean up of that contamination -- and abuse from those in charge of that remediation project.
More than a dozen residents of the Newhall section of Hamden attended Tuesday's Legislative Council meeting to ask the council for help in dealing with ongoing problems that range from flooding to misplaced fencing.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Olin Corp. are in charge of the $70 million remediation project that is doing the work on hundreds of homes in the Newhall section of Hamden.
When Marlboro Street resident Carlene McNulty bought her home two years ago, she received assurances that her property was free from the contamination that plagued the area. She even had it in writing, she told the council.
But she soon realized that something was wrong, she said.
"There was no way that everyone around us was contaminated and we were clean," she said. And sure enough, after she pushed to have her property tested, both the front and back yards came up contaminated.
"We had to fight at every single angle," she said. "I don't think it is right how they have treated us."
And when the contaminated soil was finally removed from her front yard, it was replace only with sod but not with any topsoil beneath it, she said.
"Why do we have to constantly battle with them to do a good job?" she asked. "It seems like the DEEP is on Olin's side -- we need someone to stand up for us."
"They are treating us like we are nobodys," agreed Winchester Avenue resident Sharon Crockett, who also was told her property was clean when she bought it two years ago, only to find it was contaminated. "I never would have bought it had I known."
One Goodrich Street resident said when workers came in to remove contaminated dirt in her yard, they removed a fence, but when they put a new one up, they put in in the wrong place.
Another resident said his fence was torn down and never replaced.
"They said it was never there," said Newberry Street resident Keith Butler. "I'm getting floods that I've never got before, and the ceilings and walls are cracking because they're banging so hard.
"Everybody has the same problems and they are treating us like we are nothing," he said. "We are taxpayers, and they have a total disrespect for our community."
Economic Development Director Dale Kroop said the town is not responsible for the project and has little power over those who are. The residents have legitimate complaints, he said, and the town will work with the DEEP and Olin to resolve them.
"What we are trying to tell you is we hear you and we are here to help you," council president Judi Kozak told the residents. "We can't possibly come up with a solution tonight, but we want to find the answers -- obviously we need to find the answers and we are here to get them for you."