Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 30, 2013

Water Street cleanup plan finalized

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The federal government’s plan to clean up a polluted stretch of Water Street has been finalized.

Word that Judith Enck, regional administator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, signed a “record of decision” regarding first-phase remediation of the Eighteenmile Creek Superfund site was received Tuesday — almost one month after she did sign, just as EPA operations ground to a halt for a few weeks with partial shutdown of the federal government.

The finalized plan, which has EPA taking control of nine parcels on Water Street/Water Lane, relocating five households and demolishing five houses, as well as demolishing the remnants of an industrial building on the Flintkote property, is the same as the plan that was presented in a public meeting in mid-August.

The plan calls for excavation of PCB-, lead- and chromium-laden soil at nine parcels, four of which are vacant parcels. Three of those are owned by the City of Lockport.

EPA will contract with a real estate specialist to negotiate buyouts with residential landowners and help families find new living quarters. That process may take up to one year, spokesman Michael Basile said previously. Five residential structures will then be demolished and soil removal commenced.

The Flintkote building, off Mill Street one block east of Water Street, is being demolished so that the ground beneath it can be tested.

The Water Street/Water Lane properties contain contaminated soil from the Flintkote property that was used as fill, according to EPA. The residential properties, which are adjacent to Eighteenmile Creek, may be further contaminated when the creek floods. The creek cuts through the Flintkote parcel, which prior study by the state suggested is the main source of PCBs and lead.

The Eighteenmile Creek Superfund site consists of the Water Street properties, four industrial and commercial properties on Mill and Clinton streets, and the bed of the creek itself between lowertown and Olcott, where the creek lets into Lake Ontario. The area was added to the National Priorities List, showing hazardous waste sites around the country most in need of cleanup, in 2012.

The estimated cost of first-phase remediation, cleaning up Water Street properties and taking down the Flintkote building remnants, is $3.9 million.