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 to.

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 were inaccessible.

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 inaccessible.

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 radiation.

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)

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