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ARSENIC-LACED SOIL TARGETED FOR REMOVAL IN MIDDLEPORT

FMC Corp. announced Friday that it intends to remove and replace arsenic-contaminated soil at 14 homes west of its agricultural chemical plant here.

Levels of arsenic in Middleport residents' urine also will be analyzed under a voluntary testing program to begin in the fall, the company said. Soil samples will be taken from the yards of those who agree to have to have their urine tested.

Brian D. Vain, FMC's Middleport plant manager, said no health impact from the arsenic has been found in any previous study.

Vain said the company would not disclose the cost of the planned work. The excavation and backfilling is to be begin around mid-August and take eight to 10 weeks. The properties will be done in three groups, he said.

The FMC plant made pesticides containing arsenic from the 1920s until 1974. Surface water runoff and local flooding over the years leached arsenic off company property, FMC said in a news release.

Twelve of the homes are on South Vernon Street, and two are on Main Street. A sewer line that crosses the Main Street parcels and two of the South Vernon Street lots will be replaced.

The work was planned in cooperation with the state Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Those agencies and FMC will hold a public meeting on the plans at 7 p.m. June 9 in the Royalton-Hartland High School auditorium. Two less formal public availability sessions are set for 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. June 10 in the Masonic Lodge, 20 Main St.

The 14 properties were tested in the early 1990s, and results did not indicate immediate health risks from the elevated levels of arsenic. More samples were taken last fall and compared with samples taken in Gasport. Vain said background values for arsenic that normally occurs in the local soil were recalculated, leading to the decision to remove soil.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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