EPA finalizes cleanup plan, estimated at $23 million
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a plan to remove contamination in the creek corridor section of the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund Site, in Lockport, N.Y. The creek corridor is approximately one mile in length and extends from the Erie Canal to Harwood Street in Lockport. This portion of the site cleanup will cost an estimated $23 million.
The creek and several adjacent properties are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead and other contaminants. PCBs can damage the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing. Lead can damage the nervous system.
This cleanup plan, which is the second phase of cleanup at this site, will require the complete removal of contaminated sediment in the creek corridor. EPA requires a combination of excavation and off-of-the-site disposal, capping, and institutional controls to address contaminated soil at Upson Park, the former Flintkote Plant, White Transportatio, and former United Paperboard Co. properties. During the removal of contaminated sediment, the dilapidated Clinton and William Street dams will be removed.
EPA will be conducting work at:
- The former United Paperboard Co. property, located at 62 and 70 Mill St., where a lumber company and paper company operated from the 1890s to 1948;
- The White Transportation property located at 30 through 40 Mill St.;
- Upson Park, a 5.9-acre property that was used by a canal building company and then a paper pulp mill (now a public park along the Erie Canal with recreational uses); and
- The former Flintkote Plant property located at 198 and 300 Mill St., where Flintkote operated between 1928 and 1971 and manufactured felt products.
The EPA completed the initial phase of cleanup in May of 2016, which included the demolition of the former Flintkote building and the buyout and relocation of five families from their Water Street residences in Lockport, N.Y. Those homes and the former industrial building were demolished, and all demolition debris was removed from the properties. The excavation of contaminated soil at the residential properties will be performed during cleanup of sediment in the creek corridor to prevent recontamination of the Creek and the properties.
Eighteen Mile Creek has a long history of industrial use dating back to the 1800s. The headwaters of the Creek consist of an east and west branch beginning immediately north of the New York State Barge Canal in Lockport. Eighteen Mile Creek flows north approximately 15 miles and discharges into Lake Ontario in Olcott, N.Y. The site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in March 2012. Investigations at the site show that sediment and soil in and around Eighteen Mile Creek and nearby properties are contaminated with variety of pollutants, including PCBs and lead.
EPA has taken a multi-phased approach to cleaning up the 18 Mile Creek site. In the first phase, a number of buildings were demolished including buildings on the former Flintkote property. The second phase of the cleanup to be conducted under the final cleanup plan announced today, will address soil and sediment contamination in the creek corridor. The third phase of cleanup, which is still in the investigation stage, will address groundwater and contaminated sediment in the Creek from Lockport to Lake Ontario.
The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. EPA continues to search for parties responsible for the contamination and, if found, will hold them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. While it searches for viable responsible parties, the EPA Superfund program has paid for the cleanup at this site using taxpayer dollars.
EPA held a public meeting in Lockport on Sept. 7, 2016, to explain its proposed plan. EPA accepted public comments for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.
For the record of decision and more information about the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund Site, visit www.epa.gov/superfund/eighteenmile-creek.