Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 13, 2014

CONFER: All of Niagara County should say 'no' to CWM expansion

Niagara Gazette — CWM Chemical Services maintains a 710-acre facility in the towns of Lewiston and Porter for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous and industrial non-hazardous wastes. Wastes accepted at this facility are disposed of in an on-site landfill (known as RMU-1) or shipped to another facility for further processing and disposal.

CWM has plans in the works to create a new 43.5-acre landfill (RMU-2) just to the west of its current one. The new dump would have a capacity of 4 million cubic yards for the disposal of hazardous and industrial non-hazardous wastes and will reach its capacity in 10 to 20 years. If you’d like to immerse yourself in the details of the proposal, there is trove of information on the Department of Environmental Conservation website at dec.ny.gov/chemical/9075.html.

Last week, the DEC announced that a public comment period is now open until July 7 in which interested parties can submit their feedback about the expansion.

Take advantage of that chance. We who live, work and play in Niagara County now have less than 60 days to make our voices heard and prevent this expansion.

Yes, prevent.

Sure, our economy needs a shot in the arm and most expansions of current businesses should be welcomed with open arms. But there are certain times when we as a society need to take a step back and ask if it’s really the best thing for the health of our environment and our families. This is one of those times.

Realize that after the natural beauty of Niagara Falls and the mighty Niagara River, Niagara County is most known the world-over as being a cesspool of chemical waste (an odd amalgamation of contrasts). Before state/federal/international regulation and a better environmental understanding by the populace, manufacturers and tanneries dumped their offal into those waters, forever tainting them and their shorelines. Our own government also found it convenient to do the same while conducting the Manhattan Project.

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