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815 River Road Environmental Restoration Project

Site Number B00178

Fact Sheet - February 2009
Record of Decision Announced for the 815 River Road Site in North Tonawanda

Standing water at the site prior to remediation. The contaminated area was excavated and filled in 2007.
Standing water at the site prior to remediation. This
contaminated area was excavated and filled in 2007.


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is pleased to announce that the cleanup plan for the 815 River Road Site in North Tonawanda has been finalized.

A public meeting was held on November 3, 2008 to discuss the final cleanup plan for the site. After seeking public comment, DEC finalized the plan in a document called a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD also summarizes site investigations and responses to comments received from the public. The ROD and other documents related to the 815 River Road Site are available for your review at the locations listed below and on the DEC website.

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

Site Background

Clean fill (crushed concrete) being placed in an excavated area.
Clean fill (crushed concrete) being placed in an excavated area.

The 815 River Road site is a 1 acre parcel located in a commercial/industrial area of North Tonawanda in Niagara County. It is located on the east side of River Road, directly across the road from the City's waste water treatment plant. The Niagara River is located about 500 feet to the west. Commercial properties, including a concrete and asphalt recycling operation, are located to the north and south of the site. A rail line runs on the east side of the site, and beyond the rail line is the former Roblin Steel ERP site, which was completed by the City in 2005.

The site was used for several decades for automotive repairs, most recently by a company which leased and maintained school buses. The City acquired the property through tax foreclosure in 2000. The presence of underground storage tanks (USTs) were documented on the site as far back as 1961. It is believed that several of these tanks leaked petroleum products into site soils.

Site investigations began in 2002 when the City utilized funding under the ERP. The investigations were halted by the City in 2004 due to cost concerns. They resumed again in 2007 and ended the same year. The investigation concluded that the tank and soil removals, which were completed as an Interim Remedial Measure, addressed the soil contamination on the site. The investigation also noted that a small area of residual groundwater contamination (from past petroleum product use) is present in the front of the site along River Road.

An interim remedial measure (IRM) is conducted at a site when a source of contamination or exposure pathway can be effectively addressed before completion of the site investigation and remedial alternatives analysis. The IRM was conducted from 2003 until 2007 and resulted in the removal of the site buildings, 14 USTs, and 7,700 tons of contaminated soils.

Summary of the Record of Decision

The final remedy for the site is detailed in the December 2008 ROD. The ROD incorporates many elements of the successfully completed Interim Remedial Measures (IRM). The IRM involved the removal and disposal of numerous underground storage tanks and associated impacted soils. The main elements of the IRM and ROD are:

  • Removing, cleaning, and disposing 14 underground storage tanks;
  • Excavating and disposing approximately 7,700 tons of petroleum contaminated soils;
  • Placing and compacting clean backfill materials in the excavation;
  • Developing a site management plan which includes periodic groundwater quality sampling; and
  • Filing an environmental easement on the property that requires:
    • Compliance with the approved site management plan;
    • A prohibition on using site groundwater that has not been treated; and
    • Periodic certification by the property owner that these controls remain in place and are effective.

Some elements of the ROD, such as periodic sampling of groundwater and certifying control measures, will require ongoing implementation.

Health Issues

The IRM removed the sources of petroleum contaminants from the site. While some residual groundwater contamination is present at the site, human contact with site groundwater is unlikely. An environmental easement will restrict the use of site groundwater.

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:

Technical Information
Mr. Jeff Konsella
NYSDEC Region 9
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

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

Citizen Participation
Mr. Mark Baetzhold
NYSDEC Region 9
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

Locations to View Project Documents

Public interest and input in this project is valued and appreciated. To keep you informed, the DEC has established two locations at which you may view site-related project documents. These locations include:

North Tonawanda Public Library
505 Meadow Drive
North Tonawanda, NY 14120
(716) 693-3008

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

The ROD is also available in electronic format in the right column of this web page.