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Tonawanda Coke soil sampling begins this week

Volunteers on Thursday will begin collecting soil samples from nearly 300 spots in Tonawanda and Grand Island to determine how air pollution has affected neighborhoods around the Tonawanda Coke Plant.

The soil sampling is a collaboration between the grassroots group Citizen Science Community Resources, the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia.

Funding for the $711,000  study is part of a larger $12 million federal settlement that found Tonawanda Coke guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. The settlement includes a $11.4 million study to determine how the violations may have affected the health of nearby residents.

Soil samples will be taken 6 inches below the surface to examine what has built up through the years, according to Joseph Gardella Jr., a UB professor of chemistry who is leading the study.

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