Toxic Niagara Sanitation landfill still plagues Town of Wheatfield

Government officials propose new fence to contain toxic below-ground leachate

Foot-dragging over decades by the Town of Wheatfield and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in their efforts at testing and remediation of the former Niagara Sanitation toxic landfill in the town has some residents of Nash Road frustrated to the extent that they are suing the government for action.

It was way back in 1983 that the DEC first conducted a “Phase I Investigation,” which consisted of “historical records review and site walk over.” Then two years later the state agency commenced Phase II, on-site data collection. It took another four years before that Phase II investigation was “expanded” in 1989.

So altogether, it was approximately six years before the powers-at-be even got to the point of admitting that “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” Since the disaster of Love Canal, which in fact had been partially removed to the Nash Road dump as part of the excavation and construction of the Lasalle Expressway, was fresh in everyone’s memory, it didn’t come as news to the nervous residents of Nash Road and surrounding area.

Then another two years elapsed before the New York State Department of Health got into the act, sampling surface soil to further evaluate “potential exposure risks” in 1991.

Toxic waste transported by water flows deep in the ground are implicated in health problems, not surface soil and water, but the Town of Wheatfield and the state are building a $150,000 fence around this hazardous landfill to make everyone, well, feel better.

What they found after all that time, and innumerable testing procedures, was that “… the Site did not pose a significant threat to public health or the environment because the exposure was limited; the wastes were buried, contained or sufficiently covered to avoid significant exposure. Groundwater as a potential exposure path was also limited because the area was served by public water and the closest private well was approximately one mile away,” according to state documents.

Whew.

More than 20 years later, however, in 2013, the DEC reopened its investigation of the long abandoned (closed in 1968) Niagara Sanitation landfill, due to complaints by local residents of elevated rates of everything from skin rashes, respiratory ailments and thyroid issues to cancers, birth defects and more.

They are alleging that, while testing of surface soils and water run-off in their neighborhoods adjoining the landfill have tested negative, the numerous and varied poisons are leaching into their basements via peripheral subsurface water movements out of the toxic dump. That is eerily similar to how the Love Canal emergency initially unfolded.

For the record, “The landfill accepted both municipal and industrial solid wastes, including caustic materials, plating tank sludge, fly ash, salt solids, graphite, carbon, scrap adhesives and miscellaneous laboratory chemicals. NYSDEC records indicate that Bell Aerospace, Carborundum, Graphite Specialties and others disposed of waste at the site,” as listed by the DEC.

In 2014 it was determined that the Niagara Sanitation site also had hazardous levels of lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Lead is a potent neurotoxin associated with permanently lowered IQ in children. PCBs, primarily used to insulate electrical transformers, are possibly the most toxic chemicals known to mankind, being carcinogenic, neurotoxic and endocrine disruptors.

Even though it’s what’s taking place below the ground that has residents up in arms and is alleged to be making them sick, Wheatfield Supervisor Robert Cliffe and the DEC seem to think fencing off the area is a solution to the dangerous situation.

“There’s nothing I would love more than to put that fence up,” he told Channel 4 News.

“ATV’s are a real problem,” he continued, “ATV’s and power bikes are, bicycles, off dirt bikes, churn the soil up and dig trenches down to where the material is,” although, according to the state, “The property is… overgrown with mature trees, dense brush, and patches of phragmites (a common tall weed),” and features “wetlands on the western, northern and eastern portions of the property,” and the toxic waste is “covered with 12 feet of fill.”

It’s estimated that the fence will cost $150,000, with the town and state sharing the cost equally. That’s a substantial amount of money, given that its beneficial effects will be mostly psychological.

6 Comments

  1. Someone should recommend they put a fence around Fukushima to contain the situation there also.

  2. H Carlucci says:

    Over 2 years and no assistance with our medical. Also our Mortgage Holders State ,”Stop payment , we cannot accept payments on toxic homes legally !” Then May 14th 2018 my home , with consistent contact with BOA, being told ,”We cant accept your Mortgage Payment *Was NEVER late in the 9 years I own the sesspool home, on it, go to a Dr . Stay out of your home, no worries .

    Then blam I see it on Zillow! Never served papers, called, emailed, my home with all in it, goes up for Auction. Regardless it will kill any being they place in it with out disclosing the dangers! I am into the tens of thousands in medical bills and counting. I have consistently been denied SSD, even though I worked my entire life. I am paying! I had to literally replace every thing I worked for and bought in my life. The lives lost and our health are NOT replaceable!

    No State of Emergency declared even though on my CR it stated FEMA FEDERAL TOXIC ZONE. The Bank stated that as well. Whilst in NYC for Public Housing they were just given a State of Emergency for repairs in the units. While we die. I am on my 30th dental visit , my Service Dog, now required for Mobility from nerve damage, just had to have a $5,000 Sx from thar sesspool, he as well has more medical from exposure. Oddly it is Politics and they want to blame the new Admin, really beca use this was brought up in 2015!!!

    Yes my teeth came off in chunks in less than an hour of the DOPW digging my yard up with a bulldozer. Why isn’t this National News like Flint , MI. This is ridiculous, a crime against humanity.

    I do not use any Social Media for safety against these corrupt enities. I want to leave a mestage for anyone stating myself of Neighbors moved there aware. No way. I bought my home at 29 yo. I had absolutely no idea this existed for 8 years. Yet, always wondering why I was having miscarriages, ill, and being a former PetNurse, why my animals were dying of ALL toxin related Dz’s?!?

    This is NOT LOVE CANAL. I never even knew where that originally was? I lived in the City, and my Father said ,”My Wifes Nephews wife is selling a property willed to her from a Co~ Worker that passed. He told me it would be a great fixer upper and first home. I put my life savings in it to find out 7 years later it was toxic. A fence will do NOTHING it is in the sewage lines and deep soil. Coming into our basement drains. Not that this is any better yet the City of NT claimed it was raw sewage, the DOH LIED. My Home Owners threatened me if I made a claim . Corrupt, sick and I demand assistance for me relocating and all our medical bills , NOW NOT LATER when I am dead.

  3. H Carlucci says:

    I purchased my home in 12/2006. Noone told me ANYTHING. Enough is enough. 4 Dr and DVM appointments so far coming the Month. I am fed up. No assistance what so ever. None! My health insurance is over $550 p/m and ass all the deductibles and CoPays. Why bint this on National News. Ih, yes, we know why, midterm elections. Pay up NYS, Chemical Companies, Washington.

  4. H Carlucci says:

    https://www.change.org/p/andrew-cuomo-niagara-sanitation-landfill-abandoned-and-toxic-wheatfield-ny

    They are well aware. This is likely the largest Environmental Disaster caused by, alleged, illegal dumping ever in the U.S. Not one mainstream media station covers it. So many of my Friends and Family are dying or suffering Cancer, Tumors, MS, on and on , many so young!

    One person dares to say we knew, well do your research. I didn’t know anything until it burned my face, my teeth came out , my pets had to be rushed to E Vet . Direct cause and effect. No denying it in my case they dug up yard we were IMMEDIATELY ILL. CASE AND POINT.

  5. H Carlucci says:

    How about a GoFundMe Page for all of us suffering and losing our life savings and homes?

    As opposed to GoFundMe for former DOJ that lacked Candor, ridiculous! Where are the priorities in this Country! They also stopped delivering water in Flint , a resident informed me. You do not see that on the News, either. Stand Up America!

  6. Poisened and left in Wheatfield/NT, NY to die by all. says:

    Btw, it is Love Canal Waste relocated , not known to any residents. I was referring to the FACT our homes were not built on the former Love Canal area. It is Love Canal Waste. We saw them haul over 80 DumpTrucks full, spilling all over Nash Road! Then added waste. It was apparently toxic decades prior to me being born. Especially prior to me buying a home there!

    What will a fence do, look at Boston Lab results it has seeped! Our homes were built on wetlands, real smart. Add insult to injury, way prior to when I was born or lived there. So, prior to 2015 they admit it was there as they hauled a ton out. So are they attempting to state that the prior years before it was ,’allegedly,’ all removed we were not already exposed. No too late.

    To us it is commom sense. We all lived there prior to 2015 and developers continue to build homes. That is too little too late. They call our Neighborhoods a ‘HOT market,’ for buyers. Why? Because many banks stole our homes , while telling us not to pay and get well, no worries.

    Hence, (Forgive prior typos, we are ill again and a week full of more medical expenses,) we are supposed to fight likely 20 years! When we will all probably be dead and broke, for what they knew, not us, what was hidden there. A fence is a waste.

    Take that money and the multi millions that Chemical Companies are required in Insurance in case if situations like this, to take care of innocent human beings and all living beings. For cleaning what they did to the Wildlife, Environment, now destroyed, to pay for our medical and bulldoze the homes.

    Yes, bulldoze. They are still selling our homes knowing they are not safe? They have been tested. Tell us how they can not disclose that?

    Easy, just like they did to all of us . Making it appear like a piece of land to hike, fish, dirt bike on. No signs, no nothing. All the while they knew it was buried there. That land sold for one dollar. Our lives are apparently worth one dollar!?! This is what , and more, likely radiation in my case because of immediate illnesses when soil was disturbed, was found by Boston Labs and presented to Governor Cuomo;

    http://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2017/06/8/attorneys-release-pesticide-and-pcb-results-for-homes-along-niagara-sanitation-landfill

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