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Post Info TOPIC: Meeting tomorrow to air issues on weapons site - Lewiston LOOW site


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Meeting tomorrow to air issues on weapons site - Lewiston LOOW site

Meeting to air issues on weapons site

When and where: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 6:00 until 9:00 pm.
Lewiston Senior Citizens Center, 4361 Lower River Road, Lewiston, NY.

Meeting to air issues on weapons site
Corps of Engineers to provide information after advisory board claims potential leak

Updated: September 14, 2009, 8:41 AM

LEWISTON A public meeting will be held Wednesday (9-16-2009) on the ongoing investigation into environmental contamination at a former federal weapons site in northwest Niagara County.

Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers will present information about the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works and Niagara Falls Storage Site in a session scheduled for 6 to 9 p. m. in the senior citizens center, 4361 Lower River Road.

The Niagara Falls Storage Site, a 191-acre section of the ordnance works, includes a 10-acre cell built in the 1980s to hold radiological wastes. The structure known as the Interim Waste Containment Structure may be leaking, an advisory group to federal regulators has warned.

Army Corps officials have said that, contrary to the claims by the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board, they believe data indicates the cell is not leaking.

The advisory board a volunteer group of local residents, academics and industry professionalssays the issue figures prominently in the decision on whether the radioactive substances will remain buried in Niagara County.

A statement issued last week by an agency spokesman read, in part, We look forward to discussing these projects with the community at the upcoming meeting and will be available to respond to their questions.

The corps and the advisory board have been at odds for several years over access to the agencys technical experts and data, as well as allowable suggestions from the board. The state attorney generals office has supported the board, calling the agencys revocation of the boards status and its attempt to form a new board illegal and misguided.

In July 2008, three months after the state attorney generals office came forward, the corps announced it was dropping its attempt to form a new advisory board but has yet to return to the previous level of interaction with the group.

Last September, at a public meeting that included presentations filled with scientific jargon, members of the public called on the agency to reengage the more technically savvy advisory board.

The former ordnance works site, which covers about 7,500 acres in the towns of Lewiston and Porter, also is being investigated for chemical contamination. Only about a third of the site was developed after the federal government took control of it in 1941, officials have said.

About 2,500 acres were used for about nine months to produce TNT, although the Defense Department continued to use the property for decades.

The Corps of Engineers assumed responsibility for the sites cleanup in 1997.

The 7,500-acre site now includes the Lewiston-Porter campus and CWM Chemical Services hazardous waste landfill, as well as other privately owned land.

For more information about the ongoing investigation, visit the Army Corps Web site:




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BUFFALO NEWS - Niagara County

Meeting held on former weapons sites
Environmental contamination was focus of hearings discussions

Updated: September 17, 2009, 12:16 PM

LEWISTON About 60 people gathered in the Lewiston Senior Center on Wednesday night for a public meeting about the ongoing investigation of environmental contamination on former federal weapons sites in Lewiston and Porter.

The format of the meeting included several presentations by staff and contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers, the regulators responsible for the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works and the Niagara Falls Storage Site. Members of the public were also permitted to ask questions during an open roundtable.

The 7,500-acre site was purchased by the federal government in the early 1940s to construct an explosives plant manufacturing trinitrotoluene, or TNT. It had other uses once the TNT plant closed nine months after it opened. The storage site, a 191-acre area, includes a 10-acre cell that holds radiological waste.

It was the third quarterly meeting held this year on the inquiry into chemical and radiological contamination at the site, once home to various Department of War operations and which also played a role in the Manhattan Project.

The meetings are meant to fulfill the requirements of federal law for public participation in environmental cleanups.

This format, however, has been criticized by a volunteer panel of area residents with technical expertise for failing to allow for real dialogue with community members.

The LOOW Restoration Advisory Board, the status of which has been diminished by the agency, had been engaged in technical review and previously got access to agency data and its experts.

Many of those in attendance were employees of various local, state and federal agencies, as well as elected representatives.

Village of Youngstown Mayor Neil C. Riordan asked the corps officials if there had been any progress in regaining official recognition for the group.

Its critical to all of us, Riordan told corps representatives.

Bill Kowalewski, special projects branch chief for the corps Buffalo district, said the issue is being handled above the local agency level. Kowalewski reported there has been no movement on the issue locally.

Corps officials said the next meeting has tentatively been scheduled for early December.

Many of the questions asked of the agency Wednesday night involved schedules for future work.

The corps provided details about its plan to group 550 parcels into 33 subsections based on type of activity that occurred on them. The entire site, which consisted of both the developed and undeveloped areas, comprised about 7,500 acres.

There was also discussion about plans to demolish a structure known as Building 401, which sits on the Niagara Falls Storage Site.

The agency wants to knock the building down in order to access contaminated pipelines beneath it, said Michelle Rhodes, acting project manager for the corps.

The Corps of Engineers has received federal stimulus dollars for the project, and may award a contract as early as January, said Kent Johnson, of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Former Lewiston Town Councilman D. James Langlois expressed his support for having the building destroyed.



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