Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP)
The Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP) was a U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command installation. The SAEP is a manufacturing industrial facility strategically located in southwestern Connecticut within the Town of Stratford, Connecticut, sited on 117 acres (44 of which are riparian rights) to the Housatonic River where the river flows into Long Island Sound. The property consists of several parcels, and includes both land area (73 acres) and riparian rights (44 acres). The site contains 58 buildings with 1.7 million square feet of administrative, office, manufacturing, warehousing and support space. The majority of the property consists of generally level land, which is mostly located within the 100-year flood plain, and all of the waterfront portions of the site are classified as "developed shorefront" by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
SAEP encompasses a sophisticated array of test facilities, laboratories, and special equipment that were operated by a highly trained and educated engineering technical base. Test facilities include sixteen (16) full engine production and ten (10) full engine developmental test cells. These cells are designed and setup for specific military and commercial engines. The test cells allow the testing of a complete engine as a unit under various environmental conditions. The component testing facilities are used for testing production and developmental components in all environments. Considerable effort was dedicated to the continuous review of fielded engines, performance and future engine requirements. Extensive support is also provided to numerous Army technology programs to develop and test advanced materials for turbine engine applications required for increased performance and reliability in Army ground and airborne systems.
Under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommended the closure of the Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP), a a government-owned, contractor-operated facility. In July 1995, the BRAC Commission recommended closing the Stratford Army Engine Plant. The installation closed on September 30, 1998. The relocation of the AGT 1500 engine recuperator manufacturing process from SAEP to Anniston Army Depot (ANAD), Anniston, AL was not directed by the BRAC Commission, but a decision by the Department of the Army to retain the capability to rebuild and repair tank engines to meet projected operation and mobilization requirements.
The line of commercial and military engines manufactured at Stratford included the AGT1500 engine for the M-1A1 Abrams tank, along with other engines for fast ferries, helicopters and medium-size commuter airplanes. In late 1993, AlliedSignal and Textron Lycoming started negotiations on a possible alliance or co-production agreement covering Stratford. In May 1994 the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding on AlliedSignal's purchase of the Textron Lycoming business, and the sale was completed on 28 October 1994, for $375 million. At that time, there were suggestions that it was planning to close the Stratford Army Engine Plant and move the work to a non-union factory in Phoenix, Arizona. Profits in 1995 for the Stratford operation were $64 million on $439 million in commercial and military business.
In September 1996 the DOD Office of the Inspector General concluded that the Army did not develop adequate cost estimates for relocation of essential manufacturing, engineering, and test support capabilities for the closure. The Commission revised the Army initial estimate of $2.1 million for closure costs and increased the amount to $6.6 million. The contractor that operated the plant developed a cost estimate of $20 million but did not provide the information to the Army until after the Commission's final recommendation to close the plant was sent to the President. The Army disagreed with the $20 million cost estimate and has negotiated the cost down to $13 million.
In December 1997 Governor John G. Rowland announced that INDEX Corporation, producer of highly sophisticated machine tools based in Germany, would expand their U.S. operation in Connecticut and create new jobs over the next five years. The company will establish a new technology development and manufacturing facility at the Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP), the decommissioned Army tank engine manufacturing site.
Progress continues to be made toward the successful redevelopment of the Stratford Army Engine Plant. In March 2001, the Town inked a new lease agreement with William B Meyer, in which the Stratford-based company increased its lease holdings to 45,000 square feet and extended its lease through next year. In June 2001, after an extensive review process, the Army approved the Town's economic development conveyance (EDC) application. First submitted to the Army approximately one year earlier, the EDC approval paves the way for the site to be transferred to the Town "at no cost" for redevelopment purposes. The Army is expected to transfer the site following an environmental clean up of the 76-acre parcel, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2002. In preparation for that day, the Town has signed a memorandum of understanding with its preferred developer for the site, Team Stratford LLC. The agreement spells out the general terms and conditions by which the Town intends to sell approximately 55 acres of the property to Team Stratford LLC for redevelopment purposes. The remainder of the site will be used for a waterfront park and for the Connecticut Air and Space Center, which intends to convert one of the buildings into a museum celebrating the State's and Stratford's significant contributions to the aerospace industry.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armament Command (TACOM) and AlliedSignal (facility operator) are jointly responsible for the environmental programs at SAEP. AlliedSignal is currently responsible for permitting and compliance matters, and TACOM is responsible for environmental remediation efforts. Currently there are no existing compliance agreements with federal, state, or local agencies for remediation of compliance activities. The CERFA process has identified 33 parcels and potential areas of contamination. The Draft CERFA report and the Draft EBS report have been presented to the regulatory agencies for review. No Records of Decision (RODs) or Decision Documents (DDs) have been developed for SAEP. An installation-wide Remedial Investigation (RI) was initiated in 1993. The Phase I RI report is complete and Phase II RI report is currently undergoing review by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With one exception (Parcel 32), the preliminary draft risk assessments indicate that there are no unacceptable risks to humans and the environment for contaminants detected in groundwater, subsurface soils, and sediments analyzed during the Phase I and II RIs. Past restoration related activities are included in the removal or closure of all known underground storage tanks (USTs), lagoon closures, and contaminated soil removal.
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