CITY OF TONAWANDA

Suspension of comment period sought

By Mark Ciemcioch NORTHTOWNS CORRESPONDENT

Updated: 05/16/07 7:25 AM

As the state Department of Environmental Conservation conducts testing in the neighborhood around a radioactive Town of Tonawanda landfill, the City of Tonawanda Common Council on Tuesday called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend its public comment period for a proposed plan to deal with the landfill.

The Town of Tonawanda landfill, which borders the City of Tonawanda, has been a controversial issue for years and has exploded over the past few months.

As several sources of radiation have been found throughout the landfill, neighboring residents and city officials have continually advocated for complete remediation of the area.

The Army Corps of Engineers' plan to cap the landfill does not call for that, but the corps has extended the usual 30-day public comment period to 90 days.

However, the DEC started testing the neighborhoods surrounding the landfill for radioactive traces just this week. Because the results would not be known for at least a month, city officials unanimously called for the Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily suspend the public comment period until after the results are reported.

The public comment period is scheduled to conclude June 26.

"I think it would be foolish for the Army to close the public comment period until they have an idea of what they're dealing with," said Councilman Rick Davis, who sponsored the resolution. This [testing] is a step in the right direction."

The city has also lobbied for the state Department of Health to conduct additional studies examining the cancer rate in the specific area around the landfill. Many residents have complained of health problems in recent years.

Mayor Ronald Pilozzi explained how frustrated he is dealing with the landfill, but he hopes the latest Council resolution will not fall on deaf ears.

"This is a further manifestation of the concern that the city has had for many, many years," he said. "Everybody I know of is tugging the rope in the same direction, but every time I go up to the state, there's a sense of frustration."

Copyright 2007 The Buffalo News

 

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