Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will clean up nine properties along Eighteenmile Creek in the city of Lockport and relocate Water Street residents from five of the properties, the agency announced Friday.
That plan includes demolishing an industrial building at the former Flintkote plant site as part of the first phase of cleanup. Located at 300 Mill St., the plant's demolition would allow the EPA to sample soil under the building to determine if it is contaminated.
It was good news, albeit news that was a long time coming, said Mayor Michael Tucker.
"We thought it was a viable option and we support it, as long as the homeowners support it," he said.
Tucker said the EPA hasn't talked directly to homeowners yet. The plan could be put into action as soon as the fall, once everything is worked out with the relocating homeowners.
Those nine residential properties located on Water Street are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls and other contaminants, including lead and chromium. PCBs are a probable human carcinogen and affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and cause other health effects.
And when there's flooding, Eighteenmile Creek, containing those PCBs and other contaminants, overflows its banks into nearby properties. Some residents on Water Street report experiencing recurrent flooding, up to 8 to 10 times a year.
Then there was June 28, when five inches of rain pounded the city of Lockport in just a few hours.
So, moving the residents is the best option, the EPA said.
“This plan will take the residents with contaminated properties out of harms’ way,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck in a release. “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.”