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DEC sets excavations at Falls toxic site

NIAGARA FALLS – The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week that a Superfund cleanup of the former Frontier Chemical site is about to begin.

The site at 47th Street and Royal Avenue was formerly a chemical waste treatment facility until the DEC ordered it closed in 1992. It is listed by the DEC as a “Class 2” site, meaning an inactive hazardous waste site that poses a threat to public health.

The plan is for the contaminated soil, tainted with organic liquid chemicals, to be excavated and treated on site with a thermal process.

Frontier Chemical Waste Process Corp. operated a treatment facility on the nine-acre site, starting in 1974. It processed an average of 25,000 tons of waste each year.

The DEC’s records show several major spills, and the final closure order came after leaks from numerous drums of waste.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed 4,000 drums of stored waste from the site in 1993 and 1994, followed by the emptying of 45 storage tanks in 1994 and 1995.

Most of the buildings that once stood on the property were demolished in 1999, and the rest were razed last year. The rubble will be used as part of the cover for the excavated soil. About 80 percent of the parcel is covered by concrete or blacktop.

The state plans to dig up about two acres of soil, removing 32,000 cubic yards to reach the 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil that needs to be treated. The treated soil will be placed back into the excavation.

The DEC said once its work is completed, the Frontier site will be suitable for commercial or industrial use.

The state’s original plan was to haul excavated dirt off the site, but in 2011 the agency changed its mind and chose an on-site treatment plan, drawn up by the engineering firm Conestoga-Rovers & Associates.

The plan will not require long-term site monitoring, except for groundwater sampling.

Also this week, the DEC announced that remedial work has been completed at the Carborundum-Globar site at Hyde Park Boulevard and Rhode Island Avenue in the Town of Niagara.

The site has been reclassified “Class 4,” posing no health threat. However, its future use is restricted to industrial purposes because of residual soil contamination from solvents used in the manufacture of heating elements for the steel industry. That’s what was cleaned up by Atlantic Richfield Corp. in cooperation with the state Superfund.