Lackawanna Citizens for a Clean Waterfront (LCCW) is continuing on with its mission to bring attention to the perils of the proposed concentrated acid tar pits along Lackawanna’s waterfront. LCCW is determined to see the remnant hazardous contaminants left in the wake of the steel company disposed of far away from the waterfront.
On February 1, Lackawanna’s council voted unanimously to pass a resolution/proclamation prompting the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for a site cleanup instead of creating the acid tar pits. LCCW is planning on holding a peaceful protest (see below) at an upcoming DEC presentation on Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30 PM (St. Anthony R. C. Hall – 306 Ingham Avenue, Lackawanna NY).
Citing the recent water catastrophe in Flint, Michigan, LCCW is calling for the hazardous waste, left behind from the days of Bethlehem Steel, to be moved to a place far from the waters of Lake Erie.
According to LCCW, the City of Buffalo’s drinking water intake is only five miles down-current from the toxic waste. If there was a breach to the acid tar pits and a release of the toxic waste, it would be only hours until the drinking water of the City of Buffalo would be contaminated with contaminants including lead.
Proponents of removing the contaminants far away from the shores of Lake Erie feel that the waterfront has suffered enough at the hands of big industry. To simply move the contaminants around, from one place to another does not solve the overlying problem. At a time when the region is rediscovering the value of fresh water, along with the waterfront lands that are finally being transitioned into functioning parcels for future generations to enjoy, this issue must be taken very seriously.
To get a sense of the importance of the issue, LCCW has sized up the terrific amount of hazardous waste that the DEC proposes be buried at the site, along with a timeline that correlates to the year that the materials were compiled:
Approximately 245,000 cubic yards (15,000 semi-truck loads). 60 years accumulation of toxic waste, consisting of naphthalene, phenanthrene, phenol, pyrene; benzene); arsenic, metals (barium, lead, nickel, other), sulfide and spent pickle liquor (acid), left in the ground in 2009. In 2010 more toxic waste was added on top, containing 8 VOCs, 23 SVOCs, 15 metals, and cyanide. In 2015 more toxic waste was added on top, containing lead, arsenic, benzene and ammonia. This is all buried 140 feet from Smokes Creek in Lackawanna NY.
“We (LCCW) are hoping to have a small protest at 6:00 pm February 24, starting half an hour before the City of Lackawanna sponsored presentation by an environmental design group at 6:30 pm, and following at 7:30pm will be the presentation by New York Department of Conservation concerning the clean up.” – John Nowak (grassroots activist)