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CWM's handling of PCBs cited by citizen before board

The recent handling of PCBs at Chemical Waste Management was questioned by a concerned citizen at a Town Board meeting Monday night.

Amy H. Witryol presented board members manifest documents from December showing that CWM was taking hazardous-waste sediment -- containing polychlorinated biphenyls -- from General Electric's Hudson River cleanup.

Witryol, a former member of the CWM Citizen Advisory Committee, said CWM swore during hearings that it was not going to take the controversial waste from the Hudson.

"It's just a small amount of sediment, but it's troubling that CWM either didn't know it was taking the waste or lied and didn't tell us," Witryol said.

CWM does a very dangerous job, Witryol said, and she finds it troubling that something such as this would "slip through the cracks."

"I just wanted you to know," Witryol told board members as she shared the documents with them.

Witryol called the two December shipments of PCBs, totaling 27 tons, "small" in the overall cleanup of 190,000 tons that have been shipped to other sites for the Hudson River cleanup.

Supervisor Steven L. Reiter directed Deputy Supervisor Gary W. Catlin, who heads the CWM Citizen Advisory Committee, to look into the matter.

Witryol said after the meeting that she brought the issue to the attention of the board because she wanted CWM to be honest with the public. "The issue is to make sure the board understands that we can't rely on what we hear [from CWM]," she said.

Witryol said her concern was heightened because Reiter has appointed two new members to the CWM Citizen Advisory Committee who are on record in support of a proposed CWM expansion plan.

"Someone has to search for information [like this] never provided to CAC, and therefore the Town Board," she said. "Lewiston residents are overwhelmingly opposed to becoming one of the last toxic-waste dumps in the U.S. Those of us with detailed knowledge of the CWM facility and the expansion-approval process need to ensure that Mr. Reiter and other CWM surrogates do not mislead residents into unknowingly helping CWM expand. Without town help, CWM cannot expand."

In another matter, the board voted to begin research on bringing sewers to the Sanborn business district.

Reiter said a vacant 10-acre site on Saunders Settlement Road, across from West Street, is being considered for development. He said a pumping station could benefit that site, as well as businesses in the area that now rely on septic systems.

More information on the matter is expected by the end of the summer.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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