The Buffalo News - Northern Suburbs - TOWN OF TONAWANDA
Razing of Praxair site set for April
By MARY PASCIAK
News Northtowns Bureau
3/19/2004

The government will continue chipping away at the Manhattan Project's local legacy in April, when the Army Corps of Engineers begins demolishing Building 14 on the Praxair site in the Town of Tonawanda.

The demolition of the building and excavation of the soil beneath it, both of which contain "low-level radiation contamination," should be completed by fall, according to Army Corps spokesman Joseph B. Baker. "Nothing indicates there's a huge radioactive pile underneath the building," Baker said.

The soil and remnants of the 31,000-square-foot building will be loaded onto sealed railroad cars and shipped out of state, possibly to Utah, he said.

Several air monitors in the area will keep tabs on airborne particles during the demolition.

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch said he is confident the project will not endanger anyone in nearby Holmes Elementary School or any other district buildings in that area.

"Of course we're concerned with it," he said. "We also have great assurances with the process being used that it is going to be done with extreme care, extreme caution."

He said he will be meeting with Army Corps officials to put together an emergency plan in case something goes awry.

The Army Corps will update the public during an information session from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of Holmes Elementary, 365 Dupont Ave.

Some of the soil around and below the building, as well as some parts of the building itself, contain radiation remaining from the 1940s, when the site was used by Linde to process uranium ores.

Praxair has been using Building 14 for research and office space, but will vacate it by April 1.

The Army Corps hopes to begin the demolition as soon as possible in April, though the exact date will depend on weather, Baker said. Shaw Environmental has been contracted for the $11 million project, he said.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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