The Buffalo News - Northern Suburbs

ENVIRONMENT

Razing recommended at Linde site

By T.J. PIGNATARO

News Northtowns Bureau

11/7/2002

 

The federal government spent millions to clean it up. Now it's planning to spend millions to tear it down.

Stubborn radioactive contamination has led the federal government to recommend demolishing Building 14, a Manhattan Project-era building, on the former Linde Air Products property in the Town of Tonawanda.

The proposal comes after the government spent millions of dollars in recent years remediating the 210-by-220-foot building, which currently houses offices and research laboratories for Praxair.

"They tried to decontaminate where there are areas of known contamination, and there are areas that are inaccessible," said Ray Pilon, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the project.

"For the difference in cost (to continue remediation) and the level of certainty, we feel the removal of the building is the best long-term solution for the problem," he said.

Unlike four other Manhattan Project buildings on the site, which were built by the government on Union Carbide land, Building 14 was built by the company itself in the mid-1930s.

The building was used by the federal government for laboratory and pilot plant studies for uranium separation in the country's early steps to develop an atomic bomb during World War II.

Army Corps officials identified five possible alternatives for the building, ranging from no action to complete removal, in a detailed plan that is available for public review.

Comments are being accepted by the Corps through Nov. 29, and a public meeting is scheduled on the issue at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in the auditorium of Holmes Elementary School, 365 Dupont Ave.

According to Corps estimates, the removal of the building, which is considered to be the most protective measure, will cost $9.8 million. The next alternative, to continue remediation work in an effort to leave the structure up, would cost about $8.6 million.

That option, however, does not provide certainty that all contamination would be remediated, Pilon said.

"We took it to a point where most of the material was removed that was easy to get at," Pilon said. "It has taken us this long to come up with a thorough analysis."

In 1996, a year before the cleanup project at Linde was inherited by the Corps from the federal Department of Energy, efforts began to rid Building 14 of contamination. The Corps continued to oversee the work until the new areas of contamination came to light.

In all, about $5.8 million in federal money was paid to contractors, in addition to several million dollars in additional administrative costs for the remediation work.

Pilon said despite previous federal investment, the most effective and permanent solution is to take the building down. That became necessary after crews discovered that certain areas of the building could not be fully remediated to government environmental standards.

"One of our main concerns is to ensure there is no risk to the people in the building," Pilon said.

He said Praxair employees who do work in Building 14 are not at risk because the contaminated areas are confined beneath the concrete foundation, some structural high beams and in a major utility tunnel under the building.

The former Linde site was one of several locations nationwide where the federal government conducted secret activities in the 1940s in an effort to develop an atomic bomb. The work, known as the Manhattan Project, resulted in elevated radiation levels on the site.

In the past decade, the government has undertaken a multimillion remediation project that has included demolition of some buildings and the cleanup of others.

Building 14 would be the third building taken down at the East Park Drive property. Buildings 38 and 30 were demolished and disposed of in 1996 and 1999, respectively. Building 31 was decontaminated in 1997.

More than 110,000 tons of contaminated materials have been shipped to disposal facilities out of state, according to Corps estimates.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

Copyright 1999 - 2002 - The Buffalo News

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NOTE:

(From above story)

"He said Praxair employees who do work in Building 14 are not at risk because the contaminated areas are confined beneath the concrete foundation, some structural high beams and in a major utility tunnel under the building."

Again, we see the downplaying of the real dangers by the BBB (Big Brother Bureaucracies).

COMMENTS:

1) At the very beginning of the "cleanup" of the Tonawanda Site, FACTS urged the DOE to raze the building.

WHAT OF THE LINDE/PRAXAIR WORKERS AND LOCAL RESIDENTS?

(And others nationwide who are in the same unique position)

EXCERPT:

..."DOE said it would only take a couple of months to decontaminate Building 14. Now, three years later, the USACE (who took over from DOE) has come to the conclusion that due to the fact that there is contamination in and around the foundation of the building, institutional controls will have to be put into effect. FACTS has lost track of how many million dollars were spent on just this one building in an attempt to decontaminate it.

In checking with the Town of Tonawanda tax assessor, at the start of the cleanup by DOE a few years ago, we found that the building was assessed for $320,000+. It was at this early point that FACTS strongly suggested that the building be razed. But, no, FACTS was just causing trouble again."...

REFERENCE:

http://www.downwinders.org/finch.html

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ARMY IMPROPERLY SELECTS CLEANUP CRITERIA FOR

FORMER A-BOMB REFINERY IN TONAWANDA, NY

EXCERPT:

..."After demanding that Building 14 (the only Manhattan Project building built by Linde) be decontaminated and after several unsuccessful attempts to decontaminate this building to unrestricted use levels which cost a total of almost $10 million, Praxair now wants the building to be torn down and to be reimbursed for its full value (the Tonawanda assessor's office reported its full value assessment as $322,000 in 1997) plus $1.5 million in improvements that were made following its "decontamination". Ironically, the Energy Department's Environmental Impact Statement had called for this building and others to be demolished at a cost of approximately $1.5 million."...

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/fiasco.htm

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Tonawanda News Sunday, November 25, 2001

By Tim Schmitt /B>

Don Finch fights for the FACTS about Linde/Praxair

EXCERPT:

...""It scares me that people, like some of the local residents who could be in a dangerous area, continue to act like ostriches," he said. "They put their heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. It probably won't." [In the beginning,] FACTS has recommended that Building 14 be torn down. With the property assessed under $400,000, Finch believes the measure could [have] cut costs rather than add to them. Instead, he, estimates the cleanup costs on the building are somewhere in the millions."...

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/2001b.htm

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2) In earlier stories, I had alluded to the dangers of employees continuing to work in this building. Especially those younger workers of child bearing ages.

WHAT OF THE HIDDEN VICTIMS OF N-BOMBS? THE WORKERS

The Buffalo News on 09/08/95

EXCERPT:

..."The Energy Department wants to decontaminate Buildings 14, 30 and 31 and demolish Building 38 at the Linde/Praxair work site. All of these buildings were in use through the 1980s and Building 14 is still in use. What of the plight of those who worked in these buildings day after day, week in, week out, year in, year out?"...

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/hid-vict.htm

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3) One hourly employee was exposed to radiation contamination as he was doing maintenance work. This happened after this area of Building 14 was supposedly decontaminated.

WORKER SUFFERS RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION!!!

June 10, 1998

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/albright.htm

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4) Residents were assured that the Tonawanda Site was a non-problem - If this is true, why was so much money spent on a non-problem?

WHAT OF THE LINDE/PRAXAIR WORKERS AND LOCAL RESIDENTS?

(And others nationwide who are in the same unique position)

EXCERPT:

..."Local residents were told that there's no problem. If so, how do we then explain why millions of dollars have been spent to clean up a "non-problem"? HMMMMmmmmmm. Even when the job is "done", anything below 40 picocuries (Thorium) will be left behind.

Local townspeople listened to (and believed) the batches of disinformation being disseminated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy (DOE), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and other "experts". They challenged what FACTS was saying. After all, none of the FACTS members were learned people in the nuclear field."...

REFERENCE:

http://www.downwinders.org/finch.html

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5) Cancer study request:

Tonawanda News

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Cancer findings lauded

Area activist hopes study of Linde area leads to more research

EXCERPT:

..."For Finch, who asked the DOH [in 1996] to come to the Tonawanda area to conduct the study, the moment brought a bittersweet validity to his previous notions. He has long believed that the site's lengthy exposure to uranium contamination was a breeding ground for cancer.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see what they found. I'm used to people coming in and saying that there's no immediate health problem," he said. "That's a rather vague statement. When does it become a threat?

"It's not that I want them to find a whole bunch of people with cancer, but we know that there is more to this.""...

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/2001d.htm

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TONAWANDA NUCLEAR SITE UPDATE:

SHODDY "INTERIM" DOE CLEANUP UNMASKED

(Reprinted from Buffalo Alternative Press March 21 - April 6, 1997)

EXCERPT #1:

..."In other "interim actions" at the Linde/Praxair property, DOE recently let a second contract in the amount of $6 million for a second attempt at decontaminating Building 14. At a cost of more than an additional $2 million, an initial attempt early last year failed to decontaminate this building to even the DOE's proposed decontamination criteria."...

EXCERPT #2:

..."The Town of Tonawanda tax office currently lists Building 14 to be assessed at a full value of $322,000. In view of DOE's claim that cleanup funds are very scarce and with more than 325,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils yet to be cleaned up site-wide, DOE's determination to spend an additional $6 million of public cleanup money in a second attempt to decontaminate (using improper, inadequate decontamination criteria) this presumably fully-depreciated building seems to be fiscally indefenible."...

REFERENCE:

http://www.factsofwny.org/32197alt.htm

QUESTION:

Does FACTS have credibility? You be the judge!

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F.A.C.T.S. (For A Clean Tonawanda Site), Inc.

Tonawanda, N.Y. & Manhattan Project (World's 1st Atomic Bombs)

Web site: http://www.factsofwny.org


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