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EPA Finalizes Plan for Cleanup at Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund Site in Lockport, New York; $4 Million Cleanup Will Address Contamination

Release Date: 10/29/2013
Contact Information: Michael Basile, (716) 551-4410, basile.michael@epa.gov

      (New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its plan to clean up nine residential properties on Water Street in Lockport, New York, which are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants, including lead and chromium. The properties and the former Flintkote Company plant are part of the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund site, which was added to the federal Superfund list in 2012. Under the plan, the EPA will permanently relocate residents from five of the nine properties, demolish the five homes and excavate contaminated soil from all nine properties. In addition, an old industrial building at the former Flintkote Company plant property will also be demolished as part of the first phase of cleanup at the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund site.

      PCBs are probable human carcinogens. PCBs can also affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and cause other health effects. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn and can have serious, long-term health consequences for adults and children. Chromium may cause cancer and nervous system damage.

      “The cleanup of the residential properties is the first phase of a multi-faceted plan to clean up contamination from over a hundred years of industrial activity at this site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.

      The EPA held a public meeting in Lockport on August 13, 2013 to explain its proposed plan. The EPA received public input for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing its decision.

      Under the plan, the EPA will purchase six of the nine residential properties, which are all privately owned, and excavate the contaminated soil from these properties and from three vacant properties that are owned by the city of Lockport. The demolition of the remaining building at the former Flintkote plant located at 300 Mill Street will allow the EPA to sample soil under the building to determine if it is contaminated. The EPA plans to address contaminated soil at the Flintkote property during the next phase of cleanup for the site.

      Eighteen Mile Creek has a long history of industrial use dating back to the 1800’s when it was used as a source of power. The headwaters of the creek have an east and west branch that begin immediately north of the New York State Barge Canal in Lockport. The creek flows north for approximately 15 miles and discharges into Lake Ontario in Olcott, NY. The site was placed on the Superfund list in March 2012. Investigations at the site have revealed that sediment, soil and ground water in and around the creek and nearby properties are contaminated with a combination of pollutants, including PCBs, lead and chromium.

      The contaminated residential properties, along with the former Flintkote plant, encompass an area of approximately 2.25 acres along Water Street. These properties contain contaminated dirt from the plant that was used as fill and may be further contaminated by periodic flooding of the adjacent creek.

      The second phase of the cleanup for the Eighteen Mile Creek site will address contaminated creek sediment and soil at several industrial and commercial properties in Lockport, which is also known as the Creek Corridor. The third phase will address contaminated sediment in the creek north of the Creek Corridor, from Lockport to the creek’s discharge location into Lake Ontario.

      The EPA is in the process of searching for parties that may be responsible for the contamination at the Eighteen Mile Creek site. The agency requires responsible parties at Superfund sites to pay for or perform the cleanup work with EPA oversight. The majority of Superfund cleanups are performed or paid for by polluters. Taxpayer dollars are used to cover EPA cleanup costs when no responsible party can be identified. In this instance, the EPA anticipates it will spend about $4 million in cleanup costs.

      To view the EPA’s Record of Decision for the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund site, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/18milecreek/.

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