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Lackawanna resident organizing protest for cleanup of Bethlehem Steel site

Concern over the cleanup of Lackawanna’s waterfront has prompted one resident to organize a protest at 1 p.m. Saturday at the end of Ridge Road and Commerce Drive near the former Bethlehem Steel Plant site. John Nowak, 50, of Leonard Street urges city officials and residents to join him in seeking a comprehensive cleanup that will return the land to public use. Currently, he said, the cleanup targets industrial reuse.

“Citizens surrounding eastern Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River should be very concerned about a particular toxic waste called acid tar pits located 140 feet from Smokes Creek,” Nowak said. “Smokes Creek has fast moving water during downpours and spring conditions. It flows immediately into Lake Erie.

“It is still contaminating our water supply,” Nowak said. “If you go down to the clay, you could get it pristine clean. You could build homes there. You could put anything there. We are talking about our water supply. Hopefully people will want to get involved.”

Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski has voiced concern over the inadequacy of the cleanup. Joining him in calling for a complete removal of the contaminants were New York State Sen. Timothy Kennedy and Erie County Legislator Lynn Dixon.