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EPA AIDE TO TOUR POLYMER PLANT VISIT IS IN RESPONSE TO TOWN CALL FOR PROBE OF DRUMS

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said Tuesday he plans to tour the Polymer Applications Inc. site at 3445 River Road in the Town of Tonawanda later this week.

Dwayne Harrington, an environmental scientist with the EPA's Emergency and Remedial Response Division, said he would investigate conditions at the plant to help alleviate concerns about what is being stored there.

Supervisor Ronald H. Moline requested an EPA investigation of the chemical-manufacturing plant after about 200 unlabeled drums were discovered inside the facility during a minor fire June 18.

Moline complained the drums contained chemicals that were not registered with the town's public safety communications center -- a requirement of federal law.

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials who were on the scene after the fire said they were reluctant to order the drums removed because they appeared to contain chemicals defined as raw materials, or product, which do not require a DEC permit for storage.

Officials, however, confirmed DEC investigators are conducting an inventory at the plant to determine what is being stored there.

Moline called the unlabeled drums a threat to the community -- especially to the volunteer firefighters.

The June 18 fire came in the aftermath of an explosion and fire at Polymer on July 3, 1988, that nearly leveled the plant.

Operations were halted at the plant last week, and Polymer has not yet resumed full operations. The company is owned by Kevan Green of Clarence.

Harrington was not specific about what actions the EPA might pursue against Polymer. The company had been assessed $35,000 in fines before the 1988 fire.

Harrington said he also planned to review progress on the cleanup at the former Envirotek Ltd. waste-disposal plant at 400 River Road.

EPA attorneys last month worked out a consent agreement with some 200 regional firms that agreed to assume financial responsibility for the removal of 1,200 drums of hazardous substances uncovered at the site last September.

The Envirotek cleanup got under way June 11, Harrington said.

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