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MacSwan talks Niagara Sanitation Landfill results

by yarger
Thu, Mar 7th 2019 12:30 pm

Results favorable for Town of Wheatfield

By David Yarger

Tribune Editor

On Monday, the Town of Wheatfield Town Board held its first meeting of March – a light one at that.

Of the matters discussed, Town Supervisor Don MacSwan said that the comprehensive environmental investigation of the Niagara Sanitation/Nash Road Landfill was completed and the results favor the town significantly.

Of the results, MacSwan said, “The results are very favorable. ... I know some of the residents won’t agree with that, but DEC will be here the 30th with their people and will give a presentation to any of the Wheatfield or North Tonawanda residents to look at the results. So, good news for us.”

In a release, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said, the Niagara Sanitation Landfill, which operated from 1955-68, accepted various wastes from the surrounding community, including nearby industries. In 1968, the New York State Department of Transportation used a portion of the landfill to dispose of contaminated soils generated during construction of the LaSalle Expressway. These soils were later determined to be contaminated by Love Canal waste.

Additionally, according to the release, DEC and the State Department of Health performed several investigations of the site in the 1980s and 1990s, which determined the site did not pose a significant threat to public health and the environment. DEC initiated a reevaluation of the landfill in 2013, and discovered that on-site areas of exposed waste and elevated sur ficial contaminant concentrations were present, necessitating a reclassification to a Class 2 Super fund site in December 2015.

The reclassification requires a full comprehensive remedial investigation be performed at the site. Occidental (formerly Hooker Chemical) entered into a consent order with DEC and voluntarily removed the Love Canal-related waste in 2014 and 2015 for disposal at an approved, out-of-state facility. The Town of Wheatfield completed construction of a perimeter fence around the landfill to limit unauthorized access and potential exposure to surface soils.

In a letter to residents of the town, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated, “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is writing to inform you that our comprehensive environmental investigation of the Niagara Sanitation/Nash Road Landfill is complete and DEC’s final investigation report for the site, describing the investigation and its results, is available for review. … 

“Most importantly, DEC wants to alert you that our final analysis of data collected from our investigation of the site, including samples of surface soil, subsurface soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater, confirms DEC’s preliminary findings – there is no migration of contaminants from the landfill adversely impacting surrounding properties and no exposure to contamination from the landfill site. 

“DEC encourages you to attend a public availability session to be held on Saturday, March 30th at the Wheatfield Community Center located at 2790 Church Road, Wheatfield. For your convenience, representatives from DEC and the State Department of Health (DOH) will be available anytime between the hours of 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to meet one on one with you to explain investigation results and answer your questions. 

“DEC’s investigation confirms that contaminants from waste disposed in the landfill are not adversely impacting surrounding properties. The data found contamination within the landfill footprint and in a defined area of surface soil within the central portion of the landfill. 

“In addition, DEC found a limited area of municipal (waste) was consisting of mainly construction and demolition debris along the western end of a natural gas pipe line beyond the landfill property boundary. Additionally, low-level contamination in groundwater, surface water, and sediment was observed, which is commonly detected in former agricultural and urban/development areas. DEC is developing and will share a final plan to address the identified contamination, which will be fully protective of public health and the environment.

“Copies of DEC’s report are available online at: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/37554.html and at the North Tonawanda Public Library.”

In a release Tuesday, DEC’s additional investigation of this site included: 

•Collecting 39 on-site surface soil samples across the landfill property, and 26 off-site surface soil samples from properties adjacent to the landfill, including 22 residential properties. Off-site sample results indicate there are no off-site impacts in surface soils. On-site surface soil sampling results indicate much of the landfill surface has not been, or is minimally, impacted by landfill contaminants. Certain small and isolated areas of the landfill where results exceeded soil cleanup objectives were identified and will be addressed as part of the next step in the cleanup process, where various remedial alternatives will be identified and evaluated.

•Digging 18 test trenches and installing 13 machine-driven and 52 hand-driven borings around the perimeter of the landfill to confirm the boundary of the waste disposal area. These trenches/borings verified that waste disposal areas do not extend beyond the landfill property boundaries, except for an area of municipal waste placed along the gas line right-of-way to the west of the landfill property.

•Collecting 63 groundwater samples from 43 monitoring wells installed in and around waste materials buried in the landfill. Groundwater samples collected from the perimeter of the landfill property demonstrate groundwater is minimally impacted by low-level contaminants typical in urban areas. These low levels are not a public health concern, because there is no exposure pathway. Community residents are served by a public water supply and do not use water drawn from private wells.

•Collecting 11 surface water and 10 sediment samples from low-lying areas on and immediately adjacent to the landfill. Sampling confirmed surface water and sediment are not significantly impacted by landfill contaminants.

•Collecting 58 samples of subsurface soil and waste on the landfill property. Various metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were detected at concentrations typical of former municipal and industrial dump sites.

DEC is currently evaluating alternatives for long-term management of waste within the landfill.

Additionally, Tuesday, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC works closely with communities across the state to investigate contamination and take all necessary actions to protect public health and the environment. The report on our comprehensive investigation of the Niagara Sanitation Landfill finds no off-site exposure to landfill contaminants. Gov. Cuomo directed DEC to aggressively investigate this site to ensure the public is protected and provide this community with peace of mind that there is no off-site contamination.”

•In other news:

Town Clerk Kathleen Harrington-McDonell announced Action CPR and Tri-Community Ambulance Service are teaming up for the second annual “100 Live in 100 Days” event.

The event is a free CPR training course for those looking to know what to do in case of sudden cardiac arrest. 

In a release, Tri-Community said, “These classes are designed for lay-rescuers who want to learn this life-saving skill. If you are interested in joining us for a class, please go to our events page and sign up.” 

The registration link is: https://actioncpr.enrollware.com/schedule#ct135056. 

Class dates include: 

•10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, March 9, Sanborn Fire Co. 

•10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, March 30, Pekin Fire Department.

•3-7 p.m., Saturday, April 6, St. Johnsburg Fire Co.

•3-7 p.m., Saturday, April 27, Bergholz Fire Co. 

•10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, May 4, Shawnee Volunteer Fire Co. 

•3-7 p.m., Saturday, May 18, St. Johnsburg Fire Co. 

•10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, June 1, Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1.

The next Wheatfield Town Board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. March 18. 

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