Buffalo News

DEC chief hears pleas for landfill tests

By Janice L. Habuda


A City of Tonawanda residents' group that has been calling attention to potential health threats of a nearby landfill got the eyes and ears Thursday of the state's top environmental official.

Alexander "Pete" Grannis, commissioner of environmental conservation, took a quick walk early Thursday afternoon on the Town of Tonawanda landfill behind Hackett Drive.

Later, he listened to a plea from Joyce Hogenkamp, a leader of Clean Up Riverview's Environment, for additional testing for migrating contaminants before the landfill is capped.

Grannis spent the day touring brownfield and Superfund sites with State Sen. Antoine M. Thompson, D-Buffalo.

Thompson later held a round-table discussion for members of various agencies and organizations, including Hogenkamp and Tonawanda Mayor Ronald Pilozzi.

The landfill, in the northwest section of the Town of Tonawanda, contains radioactive materials similar to those generated during atomic weapons research conducted locally during and after World War II.

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains that no remediation is needed before the site is capped, the DEC agreed to conduct some radiation tests in the neighborhood. Residents are hoping for more extensive studies - particularly of ground water.

"We need testing done. We need remediation done, and we need it done as soon as possible," Hogenkamp said. "We're willing to work with the DEC. We're willing to work with anyone."

"Obviously, we share your concern that it has to be closed and dealt with safely," Grannis said.

The commissioner agreed that more water testing may be needed. But he said that any actions the state undertakes must be sciencebased.

Earlier this week, Maureen Wren, a DEC spokeswoman, said results of the radiation testing are undergoing analysis.

"To date, there has been no indication of radiation from nonnatural sources," she said.


Copyright 2007 The Buffalo News

SOURCE: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/northernsuburbs/story/118736.html