DEC to test Hackett backyards

By Dan Miner

The Tonawanda News

April 20, 2007

Good news is piling up this week for city residents who want the Town of Tonawanda landfill remediated.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday it would conduct in May a walkover radiation survey along backyards which border the landfill.

The information was divulged in a letter to state Sen. Antoine Thompson, and is a result of DEC conversations with Thompson, state Sen. Mary Lou Rath and state Assemblyman Robin Schimminger. The tests will monitor several inches down, and if radiation levels are "significantly higher than normal," soil samples will be collected from the locations.

City officials hailed the information on Thursday as a positive step and gateway to more tests if radiation levels are high.

"It's not as deep as I would want it to be, but it's a start," Mayor Ron Pilozzi said. "But if they find something, it will be a trigger for more exhaustive studies.

"We finally made the quantum leap from testing publicly owned property to private property."

Councilman Rick Davis, a co-chair of the grassroots organization Clean Up Riverview's Environment, echoed those sentiments.

"It's a step in the right direction," he said. "But the ultimate goal is full remediation."

Within 30 days of the survey's conclusion, all property owners will receive a letter documenting the radiological survey of their property, according to a fact sheet provided by the DEC.

Copyright 2007, Tonawanda News