Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 21, 2014

Contaminated Lockport soil being taken to Covanta

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — Any contaminated soil from the remedial work being done on LaGrange Street is trucked to Niagara Falls for incineration at Covanta Energy Corp., says the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC engineering geologist Richard Dana said in an email that the coal tar, the material buried beneath the New York State Electric & Gas Corp. substation on LaGrange, is being burned at the Covanta facility on 56th Street in the Falls. The burning of the tar does not affect the facility’s emissions, the DEC said.

In February, NYSEG closed LaGrange from South Transit Street to Saxton Street on the east, a roughly 300-foot stretch of road. NYSEG workers are excavating the road and the company’s electric substation lot, right down to the bedrock in order to remove the tar.

The work, which could last as long as a year-and-a-half, is being handled and paid for by NYSEG.

Coal tar is a thick liquid byproduct of coal distillation, which is the process of turning coal into gas. In higher concentrations, coal tar is a carcinogen.

From the 1850s to 1927, the NYSEG substation site housed a manufactured gas plant that burned coal and petroleum products to provide gas for homes and businesses. The state DEC said coal tar appeared to have migrated north from the substation toward Genesee Street and starting seeping into the Erie Canal.

According to the DEC plan, clean up will also involve installing a containment system around the substation lot; installing a barrier wall and collection system next to the canal to shield it from tar seeps in the bedrock; removing contaminated sediment in the canal; and extracting contaminants from bedrock and beneath substation equipment.

Within 90 days of completing the remedial work, a final engineering report will be filed with the DEC.

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