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EPA: Great Lakes Legacy Act Buffalo River Sediment Evaluation Expanded

Release Date: 09/25/2008
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov; Phillippa Cannon (312) 353-6218, cannon.phillippa@epa.gov

Chicago -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has expanded its evaluation of contaminated sediment in the Lower Buffalo River in Buffalo, N.Y., to include the entire Buffalo River Area of Concern. The evaluation is being partly funded by the Great Lakes Legacy Act. Areas of Concern are severely degraded sites within the lakes where there is significant pollution.

“The Buffalo River is a critical resource, making it imperative to understand the extent of the river’s contamination,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “The expansion of the sediment evaluation will provide valuable information for this vital clean up effort.”

The project will evaluate sediment contaminated with a variety of pollutants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals from the confluence with Cazenovia Creek down to the mouth of the river and the city ship canal. A draft report will be completed in early 2009.

The total cost of the evaluation will be around $3 million with up to $1.95 million coming from the Great Lakes Legacy Act funds and the remaining nonfederal share coming from an environmental group, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, and Honeywell Corp., which recently pledged up to $1.25 million for the project. Riverkeeper is providing $400,000.

EPA’s research boat the Mudpuppy is taking sediment samples in the Buffalo River as part of the project. Sampling will continue through October.

Congress passed and the president signed the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 to address the problem of contaminated sediment in American areas of concern on the Great Lakes. Polluted sediment is a reason many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. It also harms aquatic life and habitat and pollutes sources of drinking water.

More information is available at http://www.epa.gov/glla