Landfill lawsuit grows

This map shows the exact location of the Niagara Sanitation Landfill, which can be found off of Nash Road near Niagara Falls Boulevard.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that it will soon begin a "detailed environmental study" of the Niagara Sanitation Landfill in Wheatfield. 

In a statement released earlier this month, the DEC said it will be looking to determine if contaminants from the landfill have been seeping into the surrounding residential neighborhoods. The Town of Wheatfield has received over 50 notices of claim from residents surrounding the landfill, asserting that contamination has lead to health issues.  

"The purpose of the investigation is to define the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected," the statement said. "The site investigation will fully characterize all contamination at the site."

In 2015, the DEC performed remedial work to remove waste from Love Canal that was moved to the landfill during the construction of the LaSalle Expressway. Though the bulk of the material was excavated, the DEC upgraded the site's threat level from Class 3 to Class 2, meaning it poses a risk to public health. 

The town has been working toward constructing a fence around the landfill, which has "historically been accessed by trespassers on foot and on off road vehicles," the statement said. In addition to a $75,000 grant from state Sen. Robert Ortt's office, the town approved a budget transfer in early February to allow $76,976 to be put toward installing the fence.

"They actually started already doing some shallow bore testing," Cliffe said. "They're going to be doing some deeper bore testing and installation of test wells later on this year."

The first phase of the investigation will include collecting samples of the landfill's surface soil, surface water and sediment for analysis, while the second phase of the project would involve clearing vegetation from around the perimeter of the landfill. 

Once the investigation is complete, the DEC will release its findings in the form of a report. After that, a "feasibility study" will be conducted to help determine which options are available when it comes time to shift their focus to remediation. A draft remediation plan will be presented to the pubic for review before it is implemented. 

The full information sheet about the investigation can be found on Wheatfield's website at wheatfield.ny.us/DocumentCenter/View/1516

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• Information on the DEC's investigation can be found on Wheatfield's website at wheatfield.ny.us/DocumentCenter/View/1516.

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