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Hearing set on state plans for old landfill

A state plan to cover decades-old incinerator ash with dirt at a former City of Lockport landfill will be the subject of a 30-day public comment period that begins Monday.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced its plans for a segment of the Old Upper Mountain Road site late Friday.

The proposal to spend about $462,000 of state Superfund money on the one-acre site will be discussed at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 15 in City Hall.

It's one of three segments of a larger seven-acre site not far from the intersection of Routes 31 and 93.

Operating Unit 3, as the state calls the area in question, lies between the active CSX and Somerset Railroad tracks and an abandoned rail spur.

The nearest road to the parcel is Otto Park Place.

Glenn May of the DEC's Division of Environmental Remediation said the site appears to have been used as a municipal dump by the city from 1921 to the 1950s, but it's hard to tell for certain.

Incinerator ash and garbage seems to have been dumped at the site and then pushed into a ravine below. May said the DEC deems the site a Class 2 inactive hazardous waste site posing a threat to human health because tests on the ash in 2009 and 2010 detected lead.

The DEC's plan is to cover the ash with 18 to 24 inches of clean soil and fence it off.

However, it's unclear when that will happen, because plans aren't complete yet for the two other subdivisions of the overall site, Operating Units 1 and 2.

Operating Unit 1 is the part of the old landfill north of the Somerset Road. Operating Unit 2 consists of 4,400 linear feet of contaminated Gulf Creek sediment between the site and Niagara Street.

Old Upper Mountain Road forms the western boundary of the site, which is partly in the City of Lockport and partly in the Town of Lockport. May said New York State Electric & Gas Corp. may own part of it.

However, the DEC hasn't been able to fix responsibility for the ash and probably will foot the bill for the cleanup itself, May said.

"There's some hearsay from an old guy who used to live near the site about companies that used to dump there, but most of those companies are out of business, and he died a few years ago," May said.

None of this has anything to do with the much larger city landfill nearby that was capped in the early 1990s, May said.

The DEC paid 75 percent and the city 25 percent of a $1.1 million tab to cap that landfill.