A draft report released last week by a state agency suggests a chemical found during a construction project at the intersection of 96th Street and Colvin Boulevard is “isolated” in nature and was likely there before containment systems were installed at the nearby Love Canal facility.

The report also stated the site does not present a risk to human health or the environment.

The New York State Department of Conservation said an analysis conducted by a contractor that oversees operations at Love Canal determined the materials found at the intersection during a construction project in January were chlorobenzene chemicals, similar to those found in the neighborhood during the Love Canal era.

The report also maintains the material in question did not migrate off of the Love Canal property, but rather represents an “isolated pocket of historical contamination” that was there before the containment structure was built. It further maintains the chemicals were not found to extend beyond the sewer repair area and “remained contained within an isolated pocket in a low-lying section of pipe buried within restrictive clay soils beneath the road’s surface.”

In response to the contractor’s preliminary investigation and findings, the DEC has determined the contamination that was found has been addressed and the site does 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 notes.

A contractor working for the Niagara Falls Water Board tapped into a clay pipe at the intersection during a construction project in late January. The ruptured pipe released a chemical compound that city officials feared had similar characteristics to those found at the adjacent Love Canal containment structure. The Water Board was nearing completion of the LaSalle Sanitary Sewer Project when the incident occurred.

In the wake of the incident, the Water Board contacted Glenn Springs Holding, Inc., a subsidiary of Occidental Chemical which manages the 70-acre Love Canal containment structure. The DEC required Glenn Springs to investigate the project area to determine the source and extent of the potential contamination.

According to the DEC, the investigation by Glenn Springs Holdings included:

• A check of the integrity of the remedial treatment system at Love Canal. The report indicated that all three components of the facility — the landfill cap and barrier drain, leachate treatment and long-term groundwater monitoring — were operating properly and effectively.

• Took soil samples in the area where the contamination was discovered. The report says all samples were analyzed by Test America Laboratories, Inc. of Pittsburgh and that they revealed the presence of chlorobenzene chemicals similar to those from the Love Canal era. Investigators maintain the contamination existed in that particular location before the treatment systems were installed at Love Canal.

The DEC said Glenn Springs took the following actions to address the contaminated area:  

• Removed the 50-foot section of pipe and the impacted granular bedding material around the section of the pipe to the bedrock in the area where the material was discovered.

• Installed new bedding material 2 feet around the pipe and backfilled and compacted the remainder of the excavation with native materials removed from the excavation. The report claims the stockpiled native material was inspected before backfilling to ensure there were no odors or evidence of chemical impacts.

• Cleaned sections of the sanitary sewer beneath Colvin Boulevard between 97th Street and the 91st Street lift station and and removed any sediment that may have been present upon completion of sewer repair.

• Used a vacuum truck to remove wash water and sediment that collected in the downstream manhole during cleaning. The DEC says use of an above-ground pump and piping system and the installation of sewer plugs in the downstream manhole in each section of sewer prevented sediment from entering downtstream sections while cleaning.

• Video inspected the pipes from 97th Street to the lift station and 91st Street once the sewers were cleaned to ensure that all sediment had been removed.

• Conducted continuous air monitoring during all work to ensure that air quality met regulatory levels in the Black Creek neighborhood.

“The conclusion of the draft report, subject to final review, is that the contamination found has been addressed, exposure pathways have been addressed and the site does not present a risk to human health or the environment,” the DEC concluded.

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