by Terry Duffy
Supervisor Steve Reiter heard some interesting news regarding hazardous waste landfiller CWM Chemical Services at Monday's Lewiston Town Board regular meeting, and promised to look into it.
Lewiston resident Amy Witryol, who had served for a number of years as a member of the town's Citizen Advisory Committee until she was replaced earlier this year in a restructuring move of the group by Reiter, appeared and presented what she called manifest documentation on the company to Reiter and Town Board members. The two documents, titled "Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest," provided the proof according to Witryol, that CWM was importing Hudson River PCBs to its Porter landfill despite its saying in the past it would not.
"If you probably recall a few years ago, CWM confirmed they would not be taking any Hudson River PCBs," she began. "Two weeks ago when I looked through the 2010 Manifest I found that they had taken them. ... They were asked again and specifically stated they had not taken any PCBs."
Witryol provided the Town Board documents which showed two shipments in December totaling 27 tons. "While this amount is small to the PCB contaminated material imported here ... for many years, it is very troubling either CWM didn't know they took the container(s) of PCBs, or they knew and they didn't tell us," said Witryol.
"It's not the first of such examples," she continued. "It's very difficult and complicated and even spokesmen for CWM employees at a hearing said they do a very dangerous job.
"Things slip through the cracks; I wanted to make sure you know ... now you have the documentation," said Witryol.
Reiter thanked Witryol and said he'd have Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin, who chairs the CAC, look into the matter.
That he did, and what Reiter found out apparently didn't satisfy him.
Reiter told the Sentinel that Catlin had spoken with Michael Bastile of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who told him that Witryol had contacted his office about the matter over a week ago. Bastile informed Catlin that the material in question included items such as contaminated garments, brooms and equipment and said he apprised Witryol of it. "He said in his conversation (from what he told her) that he was comfortable that Amy felt no problems" on the PCBs, said Reiter of Bastile's conversation.
"This, he told her a week and half ago," said Reiter.
"I feel very comfortable, relieved that we removed her from the CAC," said Reiter. "She misconstrued facts here.
"I'm appalled; I can't believe she misinformed the public like this," he continued.
Reiter said that Catlin would be presenting the EPA's determinations on the matter at the town's next CAC session.
When contacted on the matter Thursday, Witryol disputed Reiter's explanation.
"I spoke with Mike Bastille for the first time yesterday afternoon (April 27) at 3:30 p.m.," said Witryol. "Apparently Gary got this from someone else.
"My question is, does Steve have any supportive facts, documentation," she continued.
"My argument is that CWM has been insisting that they hadn't taken any waste. EPA doesn't know what happened here."
Witryol insisted she contacted Bastille Wednesday and he indicated he had no knowledge of the shipment.
"I'm still waiting for the documentation. I spoke with Mike for the first time yesterday afternoon. I'm just looking at a manifest here."
Witryol said the waste in question involved 27 tons of 190,000 tons of Hudson waste shipped to other sites. "This apparently slipped through the cracks."
"At least people will pay attention" now, she added.
In other news from the Monday session:
•The board approved for the town to proceed with a phase II comprehensive plan contract valued at $59,000 with the Wendel group, in order to clear up zoning issues with the recently updated comprehensive plan, since approved. Once the rezoning matters are addressed the town will hold another public hearing en route to finalizing the plan.
•The board approved a resolution for Reiter to research the feasibility of installing a pump station for sewer improvements in the Saunders Settlement Road-Buffalo Street area of Sanborn to assist the growing business district.
•The board approved new fee schedules and collection procedures covering service connections, review and inspections of newly constructed water lines on private properties. The fees are geared towards new developments and are not expected to impact current residents.