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Wheatfield seeks bids for fencing at landfill, as Sen. Ortt announces funding from state

WHEATFIELD – The Town Board voted Monday to seek engineering proposals for a security fence around the former Niagara Sanitation Co. landfill, as State Sen. Robert G. Ortt came to the meeting to announce that he has lined up $75,000 in state funding for the fence.

The landfill off Nash Road, a site which is near the North Tonawanda city line, contained Love Canal waste from 1968 until last year, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation ordered the waste removed at the expense of Occidental Chemical Corp., the corporate successor of the original Love Canal dumper, Hooker Chemical Co.

Some of the waste from Love Canal was relocated by the state Department of Transportation to Niagara Sanitation in 1968, during the construction of the LaSalle Expressway.

That same year, Niagara Sanitation closed,and the town took title to the landfill.

Once the 1,600 cubic yards of waste was removed from Niagara Sanitation last year, the DEC reclassified the site.

For decades, the DEC had rated it as posing no active threat to public health. In December, however, the DEC reversed that.

“How could the removal of that waste make the site worse?” Ortt asked.

The senator said he has not been satisfied with the DEC’s response to that question.

At a previous meeting, Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe, who was absent Monday, said the DEC told him that the reclassification was needed to try to pursue the other companies who dumped in the Niagara Sanitation landfill for payment of the costs of cleaning up the whole 18.7-acre site.

However, one of the reasons in the notice was a lack of a modern cap or a protective fence.

Ortt, a Republican from North Tonawanda, said the DEC told him there won’t be any cleanup work at Niagara Sanitation until 2017. “We have to secure it,” he said.

The fence would be more than a mile long, Highway Superintendent Paul A. Siegmann said. He said he contacted a couple of fencing companies and received estimates of $70,000 to $100,000 for a 6-foot chain-link fence.

The board voted to seek proposals from Wendel, Hatch Mott McDonald, Clark Patterson Lee and GHD, four local engineering firms, for fence design and bid specifications.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com