Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 28, 2013

Love Canal suit tied to 2011 sewer work


Niagara Gazette — Crews broke into a clay pipe that sits about 25-feet below the road surface at the time of the original incident. Days later, a representative from Scott Lawn Yard, one of the contractors hired by the water board, said a compound released from a pipe near the intersection produced an odor which could be smelled blocks away from the site of the excavation. At the time, state environmental officials said there was no immediate threat to residents living in the neighborhood. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation investigated the leak, acknowledging that a “black substance” found in the sewer bedding had a sewage or chemical odor and samples showed high levels of volatile organic compounds. 

In February 2011, the DEC released a draft report on the findings of its investigation, determining that the chemical found was “isolated” in nature and was likely there before containment systems were installed at the nearby Love Canal facility. The analysis performed by a contractor hired by the DEC found chlorobenzene chemicals, consistent with those found at Love Canal, were present at the site, but that they did not migrate off the containment area and “remained contained within an isolated pocket in a low-lying section of pipe buried with restrictive clay soils beneath the road’s surface.” 

Following the release of the report, the DEC found the contamination had been adequately addressed and did not pose any risk to human health or the environment. 

“Samples collected after remediation work was completed at this location confirm that the chlorobenzenes in the excavation have been found to be reduced and are at minimal levels,” the report noted. 

Niagara Falls Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson said his office has not yet been served the complaint and declined further comment on the Pierini matter. 

Johnson did confirm that the city has been inundated in the past few months with notices of claim filed predominantly by Love Canal area residents. Notices of claim are required before any individual can file a formal claim against the city. 

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