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Former Erie County waste-incineration facility slated for possible cleanup

A Florida company is leading an environmental cleanup of an Orchard Park industrial property that was once used by Erie County for solid waste disposal and incineration.

Octavus Storage NY of Tampa, registered to Joseph McNeil, has filed plans for the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program for 3678 Southwestern Blvd., adjacent to Route 219. The site, which is currently vacant, was most recently used for storage, and is zoned as industrial.

The 7.34-acre property has a two-story, 4,756-square-foot building, with an asphalt driveway, a concrete loading ramp, a fence, and a wooded area with a pond.

It was used for agriculture from 1926 through 1966, but was purchased in 1967 by the county, which constructed and operated its Torrax Facility from 1972 to 1979 in an "experimental pilot program" to burn municipal waste, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The building included a high-temperature incinerator that could use up to 13,000 cubic feet of natural gas per hour, and could burn up to 8,400 pounds per hour. The northern part of the property was used as an ash landfill and "scrubber process water treatment lagoon."

The program was halted in 1974, and all of the equipment was removed. The property was then used until 1977 by the Erie County Sewerage and Management Department for vehicle repair and storage. It was purchased in 1993 by Torrax Building Joint Venture but has largely been unused since then, and previous attempts at cleanup were not completed.

The site has previously been marketed for sale and development by E.F. Burke Realty Co. Public comments regarding the site and proposed cleanup can be submitted to the state DEC in Buffalo, at 270 Michigan Ave., by Feb. 8.

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