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Tonawanda Coke State Superfund Site

Site Number 915055

Fact Sheet - March 2008

Cleanup Actions Proposed For Tonawanda Coke Site (Operable Units 1 and 2)


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invites you to attend a public meeting regarding the environmental investigation results and proposed cleanup activities at the Tonawanda Coke Site in Tonawanda, NY. Representatives from DEC and New York State Department of Health (DOH) will be present to answer questions about the environmental investigation and the proposed cleanup plan, called the "Proposed Remedial Action Plan" (PRAP). The PRAP and other project documents are available for your review at the locations identified at the end of this fact sheet.

DEC will accept written comments on the PRAP from March 1 to March 30, 2008. Please address comments to:

Mr. Vivek Nattanmai, Project Manager
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233

Cleanup work at this site will be performed by Tonawanda Coke under New York State's Superfund Program, a program that works to identify, investigate and ensure the cleanup of sites where significant amounts of hazardous waste may exist.

Site Background

The Tonawanda Coke site is a 160 acre property located in an industrial area at 3875 River Road in the Town of Tonawanda. A portion of the site sits along the eastern bank of the Niagara River. Several listed hazardous waste disposal sites, including Allied Chemical and the former Roblin Steel Plant, reside in the area. A small residential cluster exists about a quarter mile south of the plant.

In 1978, Tonawanda Coke Corporation purchased the property from Allied Chemical Corporation to continue producing coke, a solid residue material derived from coal and used as a fuel and in steelmaking. There are several coke oven batteries on site and some administrative buildings.

Wastes associated with coke production were disposed on site. From 1981 through 1997, several investigations revealed widespread contamination impacting soil, sediment and groundwater. These contaminated areas were divided as OU1, OU2, and OU3. OUs (Operable Units) are portions of the site that for technical reasons can be cleaned up or addressed separately. The PRAP discussed here pertains to OU1 and OU2. Contamination at OU3 and river sediments near the property will be addressed separately at a later time.

In 2005, an additional environmental investigation clarified data missing from previous investigations. The results revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and metals.

Highlights of the Proposed Remedial Action Plan

Tonawanda Coke developed a Feasibility Study (FS) to assess different options for cleaning up contaminated areas. Based on the study, DEC, in cooperation with DOH, proposed a plan that will protect public health and the environment. The PRAP includes the following requirements:

  1. Imposition of an institutional control in the form of an environmental easement. An institutional control is a non-physical restriction on use of the site imposed when the remedial action leaves residual contamination that makes the site suitable for some, but not all uses.
  2. Development of a site management plan which would include the following institutional and engineering controls: (a) monitoring of groundwater on a periodic basis; (b) identification of any use restrictions on the site; and (c) fencing to control site access. An engineering control is a physical barrier or method to manage contamination.
  3. Periodic certification of institutional and engineering controls, prepared and submitted by a professional engineer.

Next Steps

All comments received at the public meeting and during the public comment period will be considered as the remedy for the Tonawanda Coke Site is finalized. Once public input is factored into the decision, a Record of Decision (ROD) will be released that describes the remedy and why it was chosen. NYSDEC will respond to comments in a responsiveness summary included in the ROD.

NYSDEC will keep the public informed about significant project milestones with fact sheets similar to this one.

Locations to View Project Related Documents

To keep you informed, DEC has established a number of locations at which you can view site-related project documents. You may review these documents at the locations listed below.

NYSDEC Central
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
(518) 402-9812

NYSDEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

(Please call DEC offices for appointments.)

Kenmore Library
160 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217

Who Should I Call If I Have Questions About the Site?

Environment-Related Questions
Mr. Vivek Nattanmai
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
Toll Free: 1-888-459-8667

Health-Related Questions
Mr. Cameron O'Connor
548 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 847-4385

Local DEC Project Contact
Mr. Glenn May
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220