SURVEYS BY DOE
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE
RADIOLOGICAL SURVEYS IN THE GREATER NIAGARA FALLS AREA
January 25, 1980
NOTE: Some of the locales are misidentified, i.e. some city and
town names are mislabeled as to their actual geographic location. They can be
properly identified by anyone familiar with the area due to the areas referred
01 ASHLAND OIL COMPANY. Material presented in other survey.
02 NIAGARA MOHAWK POWER LINE R.O.W. This area, showing gamma-ray
exposure rates only slightly above background, was located in a vacant, partly
wooded area northeast of the Ashland Oil Company Refinery and the Seaway
Industrial Park landfill. A Niagara Mohawk power line right-of-way (ROW)
intersects the midpoint of the elongated area. A survey of the area along the
ROW showed gamma exposure levels in the 8-12 uR/hr range at 1 m, with no
visible indication of the reason for these slightly elevated readings.
03 INDUSTRIAL AREA ON RIVER ROAD SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 190 This
anomalous area indicated by the EG&G aerial survey is located at what is
believed to be a Niagara Mohawk Power Company landfill or fly ash dump along
River Road in Tonawanda (Figs. 6 and 7). A portion of the anomalous area is
also believed to cover a storage yard of I.N.S. Scrap Processors, 4111 River
Road. Both locations were inaccessible to the survey team. Gamma radiation
measurements along the perimeter of the site indicated exposure readings of
about 10 uR/hr. at 1 m.
04 SHERIDAN DRIVE-IN THEATER The Sheridan Drive-In Theater,
located on Ensminger Road in Tonawanda (Figs. 8 and 9) showed elevated gamma
levels in the fenced theater parking area. The source of this radiation is
believed to be rock/gravel base used for the parking area surface. Samples of
this material are very similar to the synthetic CaSiO3 slag identified
previously in radiological surveys conducted in the Niagara Falls area.3
Surface gamma radiation levels of up to 25 uR/hr were recorded within the
theater complex, with lower levels being obtained in the theater entrance area
(10 uR/hr). A preliminary gamma-ray spectrometer analysis of rock samples taken
from this location showed 226Ra concentrations of up to 7 pCi/g, and a neutron
absorption analysis technique for 238U revealed concentrations up to 50 pCi/g.
05 NIAGARA MOHAWK POWER PLANT Area 5 is located within the
boundaries of the Niagara Mohawk coal-fired power plant on River Road,
Tonawanda. The center of the anomaly occurred near a coal storage pile south of
the main plant (Fig. 10). Although access to this area was restricted,
measurements of the gamma- ray exposure rate near the edge of the area showed
levels of approximately 12 uR/hr at 1 m.
06 DUNLOP TIRE PLANT This area of elevated gamma radiation levels
is located east of the Dunlop Tire Plant on Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda. The area
is a fenced field containing some trees and evidence of dumping operations
(Fig, 11). Gamma-ray readings at the fence were in the 8-12 uR/hr range at 1 m.
07 ONTARIO STREET LOT Area 7 is centered in an empty lot adjacent
to Permclip Products on Ontario Street, a dead-end street off Military Road,
Tonawanda. The fenced lot (Fig.12) was covered with a rock/gravel similar to
the CaSiO3 slag described earlier. The highest gamma radiation level recorded
was along the fence and registered approximately 18 uR/hr at 1 m.
08 SHERIDAN PARK GOLF COURSE The Sheridan Park Golf Course,
located along Two Mile Creek Road, Tonawanda (Fig.13), contains three locations
of elevated gamma radiation, according to the aerial survey. These areas are
expected to be heavily fertilized, perhaps explaining the appearance of the
higher readings. The preliminary gamma-ray survey indicated gamma exposure
levels of approximately 10 uR/hr at 1 m.
09 TONAWANDA CITY* INCINERATOR, LANDFILL (*TOWN?) Area 9 contained
three areas of anomalous gamma radiation levels, one located in the immediate
vicinity of the -2- Tonawanda City Incinerator on East Park Drive (Fig. 14),
and two located on the city landfill northeast of the incinerator plant.
Gamma-ray surveys from inside the survey vehicle at the plant showed little
evidence of elevated radiation (readings of only 8 uR/hr). The landfill areas
10 ENSMINGER ROAD BALL FIELD A baseball field and adjacent
drainage area located to the north of Ensminger Road and east of Lyle Avenue,
Tonawanda (Fig. 15), contained elevated gamma radiation levels, according to
the aerial survey results. A survey of the ball field revealed gamma-ray
exposure levels up to 10 uR/hr at 1 m. The drainage field, however, was
11 MILITARY ROAD Area 11 is centered over an open lot along
Military Road just south of its intersection with Youngman Expressway. The area
is located between Enos and Sanderson Company to the north and Brace Meuller
Huntley to the south (Fig.16). A preliminary survey of the lot showed gamma-ray
exposure levels of approximately 11 uR/hr at 1 m.
12 PEARCE CIRCLE The area indicated by the aerial survey was
located along a newly constructed street (Pearce). The street is a dead-end
road with a turning cul-de-sac at the end. Maximum recorded gamma radiation
levels were found to be approximately 10 uR/hr at the surface.
13 TWO MILE CREEK PARK Area 13 is a park or playground located
west of Two Mile Creek Road at its intersection with Fletcher Street, North
Tonawanda* (Tonawanda?) (Fig. 17). A brief survey of the grassy area indicated
gamma radiation levels of about 11 uR/hr at 1 m.
14 TWO MILE CREEK ROAD Area 14 is an open field located
approximately 30 m west of Two Mile Creek Road, about 1 km south of Area 13
(Fig. 18) This area is vacant with no indication of use as a fill or other
dump. The area was surveyed, with measurements averaging approximately 10 uR/hr
at 1 m.
15 NORTHLAND WIRE AND SUPPLY COMPANY This area is located behind
Northland Wire and Supply Company, 4000 River Road, Tonawanda, between the
buildings and the Niagara River. The location was fenced and inaccessible.
16 NIAGARA MOHAWK SUBSTATION According to the aerial survey, an
area of elevated gamma radiation, just above background, is located in the
switchyard of the Niagara Mohawk Power Company steam plant on River Road,
Tonawanda. Again, this area was inaccessible to the survey team.
17 BUFFALO SOLVENTS AND CHEMICALS CORPORATION Area 17 is located
north of oil or chemical storage tanks approximately 0.5 km east of River Road,
Tonawanda. This area was found to be adjacent to Buffalo Solvents and Chemicals
Corporation of Tonawanda and was inaccessible to the survey team.
18 MILITARY ROAD PLAYGROUND Area 18 is an open playground area of
3-5 acres located along the 600 block of Military Road, Kenmore (Fig. 19). A
brief scan of the area indicated average gamma radiation levels of
approximately 10 uR/hr at 1 m.
19 GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION indicate that the property is
owned by the General Services Administration as a Federal Supply Depot (Fig.
20). The site was inaccessible to the survey team.
20 TONAWANDA HIGH SCHOOL TRACK Area 20 was located by aerial
survey to be centered over the high school track and football field off
Fletcher Street, Tonawanda. A quick gamma-ray survey of the field indicated
gamma radiation levels at or only slightly above background (9 uR/hr).
21 SPAULDING FIBRE PARKING LOT This area includes an open field
and portions of the parking lot for Spaulding Fibre Company, off Wheeler Street
in North Tonawanda*. The graveled area north of the paved parking lot had
maximum gamma radiation levels of -3- approximately 13 uR/hr at 1m.
22 UNION CARBIDE - LINDE DIVISION This area, located off Military
Road in Tonawanda, had been surveyed previously and the results have been
documented.4 No further survey of the area was conducted.
23 ASHLAND OIL COMPANY This property owned and operated by Ashland
Oil Company has been surveyed previously and the results of this survey
documented.2 No additional survey work was done.
24 SEAWAY INDUSTRIAL PARK This industrial park, owned by Seaway,
has been surveyed previously and the results documented.5 No additional survey
work was performed.
25 SHERIDAN DRIVE Area 25 is centered over Sheridan Drive just
north of its intersection with River Road, Tonawanda. Parking lots on either
side of the road were inaccessible. A preliminary roadside survey indicated
gamma radiation levels of approximately 10 uR/hr at 1 m.
SUMMARY An exploratory, ground level radiological survey was
conducted in the greater North Tonawanda*, (*Tonawanda?) New York, area on
January 22 and 23, 1980. The purpose of this survey was to investigate areas
where elevated gamma radiation levels had been identified after an analysis of
data obtained during a June, 1979, aerial survey of the same area. A specific
objective of the present survey was to ascertain whether these elevated
radiation resulted from the presence of sands and residues originated during
operations conducted under contract with the Manhattan Engineer District and
the Atomic Energy Commission (MED/AEC).
The majority of areas show gamma radiation levels only slightly
above the background radiation level for that area of New York. One area (owned
by the Ashland Oil Company) was found where an analysis of soil samples
revealed radionuclide concentrations similar to those found during previous
surveys of nearby property where residues from former MED/AEC operations were
known to exist. A formal study of this area will be conducted in the near
future. Many areas were inaccessible to the survey team during the present
survey but should be investigated to determine the source of elevated gamma
One area was found to contain a porous slag material (tentatively
identified as Cyclo-wollastonite, synthetic CaSiO3). It is believed that large
quantities of this slag were generated as waste or by-product material during
past industrial operations involving the extraction of minerals from feed
material containing natural radioactivity. Previous radiological surveys in the
greater Niagara Falls, New York, area have revealed that this material is used
for bedding under asphalt surfaces and for general gravel applications. Levels
of uranium and its radioactive daughters have been found up to 50 times the
normal concentration of these nuclides in soil in this region of the state of
New York. It is recommended that an agency of the New York state government
investigate the source of this material and the extent to which it has been
used on public and private property. (emphasis added)