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DEC going after disposers at Niagara Sanitation landfill

WHEATFIELD – The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced last week that it is seeking to recover cleanup costs for the Niagara Sanitation landfill from the companies and entities that dumped waste there 40 years ago.

The agency said that’s why it reclassified the landfill off Nash Road in Wheatfield, near the North Tonawanda city line, to make it as a threat to public health. The classification allows the DEC to pursue potentially responsible parties and bring legal action against them if they won’t agree to pay for the investigation and cleanup of the site. In the meantime, state Superfund money can be used for the cleanup.

The DEC said it intends to begin a remedial investigation this fall that will continue into 2017 before a decision is made on how to remediate the site. In the meantime, the town is seeking bids for engineering work on a 6-foot chain-link fence, nearly a mile long, which is to surround the site. The cost of the fence itself is estimated at $70,000 to $100,000, and the town has obtained a $75,000 state grant to help pay for it.

Niagara Sanitation Co. went out of business in 1968 after using the 18.7-acre landfill, which covers most of a 20.8-acre parcel, since the 1950s. It then became the property of the Town of Wheatfield. Last year, a subsidiary of Occidental Chemical Corp. paid to remove 1,600 cubic yards of Love Canal waste from the site. That waste was relocated by the state Department of Transportation from the original Love Canal site in 1968, during the construction of the LaSalle Expressway.