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Union Ship Canal (Hanna Furnace Parcel 3) Environmental Restoration Project Site

Site Number B00164

Fact Sheet - March 2010

Cleanup Activities to Begin at Union Ship Canal Site

Railroad remains spanning the Union Ship Canal


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) are pleased to announce that cleanup activities at the Union Ship Canal Public Open Space (Hanna Parcel 3) project site, which is part of the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, will begin soon.

Environmental restoration work at the Site will be performed under the Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) authorized by New York State's 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act. The ERP provides financial assistance to local governments for the cleanup of brownfield sites. A brownfield typically is an unused or under-used industrial property that no longer contributes to the tax base of a municipality. Brownfields may be, but are not necessarily, environmentally contaminated.

What Will the Cleanup Involve?

The cleanup project will be managed by BUDC for Erie County, in partnership with the City of Buffalo. As part of the cleanup, the City-owned parcel of property immediately surrounding the Union Ship Canal will be developed into a public park/open space. The planned cleanup measures will address contamination while creating wildlife habitat and opportunities for recreation. They include:

Land Cover System:

  • Removing surface debris;
  • Excavating and properly disposing cyanide-contaminated wastes buried under a small portion of the site;
  • Regrading the Site landscape;
  • Installing a soil cover consisting of 18-inches of imported clean fill and 6-inches of topsoil, which will be seeded and mulched; and
  • Constructing a concrete promenade and various trails (e.g., asphalt, crushed concrete, crushed stone).

Canal Wall Stabilization:

  • Stabilizing portions of the northern and eastern canal walls by constructing an underwater berm along the base of those sections at potential risk of collapse.

Canal Sediment Cover System:

  • Covering sediments east of the Route 5 bridge with geotextile filter fabric and a 1-foot thick stone/gravel layer;
  • Removing large debris, such as submerged automobiles, from the bottom of the canal prior to construction of the underwater berm and sediment cover system.

Ecological Restoration:

  • Restoring ecological areas and features, such as reef groupings, benthic substrates (water bed sediments that support organisms that live on or in the sediments), submerged and emergent wetland plantings, and an inland embayment area.

Public Park / Open Space Development:

  • Constructing the public park in phases with this first phase focusing on utilities, drainage, landscaping, parking, and trails, including the construction of a pedestrian bridge spanning the canal.

Next Steps

Cleanup actions will begin in March 2010 and are expected to be completed by the end of the year. A final engineering report will then be developed and made available to the public. Once the cleanup is complete, the City will be able to open the new Union Ship Canal park to the public. As project milestones are reached, DEC will notify the public through fact sheets similar to this one.

Site Background

The Site is referred to as Parcel 3 of the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park. It is a 200 foot-wide strip of land surrounding the Union Ship Canal east of Route 5, covering approximately 22 acres. Parcel 3 and the commerce park were once the site of the Hanna Furnace facility, an iron smelting facility. Prior to industrialization, the area was predominantly marsh land. The historical disposal of fill materials (e.g., slag, cinders, demolition debris, and dredged sediments) and the subsequent operations of an iron smelting facility contaminated site soil and groundwater with hazardous substances, including heavy metals and semi-volatile organic compounds.

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

Should you have any question about this project, please feel welcome to contact these representatives:

Site Related Project Questions
Mr. Peter M. Cammarata or
Mr. David A. Stebbins
275 Oak St
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-6525

Site Related Environmental Questions
Mr. David P. Locey
Project Manager
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

Site Related Health Questions
Mr. Matt Forcucci
Public Health Specialist
NYS Department of Health
584 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 847-4385

Locations to View Project Documents

Public interest and input in this project is valued and appreciated. To keep you informed, BUDC and NYSDEC have set up three locations at which you may view site-related project documents. These locations include:

Offices of BUDC and ECIDA
275 Oak St
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-6525
(Please call for appointment)

DEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220
(Please call for appointment)

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library - JP Dudley Branch
2010 South Park Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220
(716) 257-9500

You may also view electronic versions of documents by clicking the links under the Important Links section in the right column.