10.29.07

Schumer Urges Army Corps To Remove Radioactive Material From Tonawanda Landfill Property Line

Town of Tonawanda Landfill is Host to Radioactive Contamination Dating Back Sixty YearsTonawanda Homes near Landfill Property Line Fear Hazardous Waste Migration, See Threats to their Health and SafetyArmy Corps of Engineers Refuses to Commit to RemediationSchumer: The US Government Made this Mess During the Cold War, and the US Government Should Clean it up

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to clean up radioactive contamination in the Town Of Tonawanda landfill, near its border with residential properties. Despite recommendations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concluding that a full cleanup is necessary, ACOE has not committed to remediation. In a letter today to ACOE Lieutenant Van Antwerp, Schumer urged ACOE to act on the DEC's recommendations and take immediate action to clean up the areas of this hazardous landfill near the homeowner's property line. He also requested that they provide a cost estimate for full remediation of the landfill, to help local residents and officials choose the best course of action for handling the contaminated land.

"The Army Corps needs to quit stalling and quickly cleanup the radioactive waste in the landfill and finally remove the threat to the health of local residents," said Senator Schumer. "The dangerous radiation involved here requires the Army Corps to immediately take action and cleanup toxic materials that may be near the homeowners' property line."

Linde Air Products Co. was one of the sites of the topsecret Manhattan Project over sixty years ago, and the Tonawanda Landfill received some waste from projects using enriched uranium for use in developing the atomic bomb. These radioactive contaminants could be as close as 50 feet away from some residents' property lines. Recognizing the potentially lifethreatening nature of these pollutants, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has concluded that a full cleanup and remediation is necessary. Schumer today called on ACOE to, first, clean up the contaminated area on the property line, and, second, provide a cost estimate for the full remediation effort that the DEC has recommended.

Schumer wrote to the ACOE in February of this year, urging them to conduct a second, more thorough and independent assessment of the landfill, after they originally concluded no cleanup was necessary. The ACOE is currently reassessing the situation, but has made no indication that they will recommend remediation. However, they recently told residents they should not spend more than 15 minutes per day on certain spots of the landfill, causing serious concern among those situated on the property line. In light of this, and the NYSDEC's recommendations, Schumer today wrote to ACOE Lieutenant Van Antwerp, urging immediate cleanup of the landfill's border with homeowners and a cost estimate for full remediation.

"The Corps of Engineers has the expertise and authority to get the job done," wrote Schumer. "In light of the potentially hazardous nature of the situation in Tonawanda, I ask that you expeditiously remediate any radioactive waste that remains near residents' property lines. Furthermore, I ask that you provide a cost estimate for the full remediation of the entire landfill."



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