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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Plan for Cleanup at Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund Site in Lockport, New York

Release Date: 07/26/2013
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up nine properties, relocate residents from five of the properties, and demolish an industrial building at the former Flintkote Plant site as part of the first phase of cleanup at the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund site in Lockport, New York. The residential properties located on Water Street are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants, including lead and chromium. PCBs are a probable human carcinogen. 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.

      “This plan will take the residents with contaminated properties out of harms’ way,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “It will also allow us to remove the contamination from the area to reduce any future risk to people or the environment. I encourage the public to give us input on the proposed plan.”

      In its plan, the EPA is proposing to buy six residential properties that are privately owned, permanently relocate affected residents, demolish the homes and excavate the contaminated soil. Two of the properties have the same owner. Three other properties, which are owned by the City of Lockport and are vacant and contain no buildings, will also be cleaned up. In addition, the EPA is proposing to demolish the remaining building at the former Flintkote Plant located at 300 Mill Street. This will allow the EPA to sample soil under the building to determine if it is contaminated.

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on August 13, 2013 to explain the proposed plan and take public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm at the 4-H Training Center at the Niagara County Fairgrounds, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, New York. Comments will be accepted until August 26, 2013.

      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 consist of an east and west branch which begin immediately north of the New York State Barge Canal in Lockport, NY. The creek flows north for approximately 15 miles and discharges into Lake Ontario in Olcott, NY. The site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in March 2012. Investigations at the site have revealed that sediments, 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 remaining building at the former Flintkote Plant, encompass an area of approximately 2.25 acres along Water Street. These properties are adjacent to the creek and sometimes flood. They were contaminated by fill and may be further contaminated by periodic flooding of the creek. The permanent relocation of these residents and future excavation of the contaminated materials from these properties is necessary to protect human health and the environment and would eliminate human exposure to hazardous substances.

      EPA held a public meeting in early June this year and outlined the three phases of cleanup at this site. The EPA’s proposed cleanup plan released today addresses the first phase. The second phase will address contaminated creek sediments and soil at several industrial and commercial properties in the creek corridor. The third phase will address contaminated sediment in the creek from Lockport to its discharge to Lake Ontario.

      The EPA is taking comments from the public on its proposed plan and is collecting information they may have about potential responsible polluters. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters pay for the cleanup rather than passing the cost to taxpayers. EPA continues to search for parties responsible for the contamination and hold them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups.

      The proposed plan and more information about the site is available online at http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/18milecreek/.
      It will also be placed in the Lockport New York Public Library, 23 East Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094.
      Written comments, postmarked by August 26, 2013, may be mailed to:

      Thomas Taccone, Remedial Project Manager
      U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
      290 Broadway, 20th Floor
      New York, NY 10007-1866

      Comment may also be emailed to taccone.tom@epa.gov.

      Follow EPA, Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2

      2013-068