Federal officials Wednesday night described a $15.4 million proposal to clean up the 39-acre Forest Glen mobile home park, a chemical wasteland that was home to more than 50 families.
And while 30 persons listened to officials describe how houses will be razed and contaminated soil excavated, there was a glaring absence: of 53 families who once lived in the park, only one former Forest Glen resident attended the meeting.
"Where is everyone?" asked Dawn Slusser, now a 76th Street resident. "I'm very upset to see that no one is here from Forest Glen."
"I just would like a straight answer," said Sherilyn Gillard, who lives in Expressway Village Trailer Park, next to the Forest Glen site. "Can I shower in the water? Can I drink the water?"
During the meeting in Niagara Fire Company 1, project manager Gloria Sosa of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assured Ms. Gillard and other Expressway Village residents that there was no problem with their soil or water.
The EPA plan calls for excavating contaminated soil from the northern part of Forest Glen. Soil and sediments would be compacted at the site and covered with a cap about 8.5 square acres in size and 30 feet in height. Excavated areas would be filled with clean soil and seeded.
"We're still not finished studying the site," pointed out Kevin Lynch, chief of the Western New York Remedial Superfund.
The relocation of 53 families from the contaminated mobile home park began in 1990 and ended in 1992. testing at the site occurred from 1994 to 1996, with a feasibility study completed this year, Ms. Sosa said.
"We had no idea what was buried at the site," said Ms. Sosa said, adding that most of the contaminated soil -- some 285,200 cubic yards -- was discovered in the northern portion of the subdivision.
At least one person who attended the meeting criticized the EPA proposal.
"I don't have a lot of confidence in dirt," said Clyde Johnston, who said he worked at hazardous waste dumps for 20 years. "You keep on moving it around and moving it around."
He suggested digging a key trench to surround the site.