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Buffalo Color Brownfield Cleanup Program Site

Site Numbers C915230, C915231, C915232

January 2014 Fact Sheet

Buffalo Color Update: DEC Certifies Cleanup Requirements Achieved at Areas A & B

Aerial map of Former Buffalo Color Site

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) determined the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to the Buffalo Color Corporation Site Areas A & B site ("site") located at 1337 South Park Ave, 1002 South Park and 145 Prenatt St. in Buffalo, Erie County under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program have been met. Please see the map for the Site Location.

The cleanup activities were performed with oversight provided by DEC. DEC has approved a Final Engineering Report and issued a Certificate of Completion for the site. Copies of the Final Engineering Report and Notice of the Certificate of Completion are available at the location identified below under Where to Find Information.

Completion of Project

Remedies implemented for the site include:

  • Containment of contaminated groundwater using a barrier wall;
  • Treatment of extracted contaminated groundwater;
  • Plugging of the storm sewer system;
  • Installation of a new water-tight stormsewer system;
  • Installation of a site-wide ground cover system;
  • Monitoring groundwater quality; and
  • Imposition of institutional controls and a Site Management Plan (for a list of the controls in place for this site, see below).

Final Engineering Report Approved

DEC has approved the Final Engineering Report, which:

  1. Describes the cleanup activities completed;
  2. Certifies that cleanup requirements have been achieved for the site;
  3. Describes any institutional/engineering controls to be used. An institutional control is a non-physical restriction on use of the site, such as a deed restriction, when contamination left over after the cleanup action makes the site suitable for some, but not all uses. An engineering control is a physical barrier or method to manage contamination such as a cap or vapor barrier (for a list of the controls in place for this site, see below); and
  4. Certifies that a site management plan for any engineering controls used at the site has been approved by DEC.

The following institutional controls have been or will be put in place on the site:

  • Site Management Plan
  • Operation and Maintenance Plan
  • Groundwater Use Restriction
  • Land Use Restriction
  • Environmental Easement
  • Institutional Control/Engineering Control Plan

The following engineering controls have been or will be put in place on the site:

  • Groundwater Treatment Systems
  • Cover System
  • Groundwater Containment
  • Slurry Walls

Next Steps

With its receipt of a Certificate of Completion, the applicant is eligible to redevelop the site. In addition, the applicant:

  • Has no liability to the State for contamination at or coming from the site, subject to certain conditions; and
  • Is eligible for tax credits to offset the costs of performing cleanup activities and for redevelopment of the site.

A Certificate of Completion may be modified or revoked if, for example, there is a failure to comply with the terms of the order or agreement with DEC.

The Certificate of Completion was issued on 12/31/2013.

Background

Location: The BCP site is situated in South Buffalo district located at 1337 South Park Avenue. The site is adjacent to the Buffalo River.

Site Features: This site is approximately 13.21 acres in size and was subdivided from the former 54 acre Buffalo Color Corporation (BCC) chemical and dye plant. The BCP site consists of two contiguous former BCC plant Areas A and B that formerly contained numerous process, administrative and maintenance buildings, process equipment and chemical storage tanks.

Area A is an approximately 10.03-acre area bounded by South Park Avenue to the north, the Buffalo River to the east, an inactive rail line to the south (beyond which is former BCC Area D - see site #915012), and an active railroad corridor to the west. Area B is approximately 3.18-acre area bounded by a rail spur and former BCC Area C (see site #C915231) to the north, an area (formerly part of Area B when BCC owned/operated the site) that contains an office building and a smaller out-building along Lee Street to the east, South Park Avenue to the south, and the active railroad corridor to the west. A single-story masonry structure is located on the northern end of Area B; the balance of Area B is vacant and is now covered with a soil cover system and a smaller area containing asphalt paving, and gravel cover. Various structures are present on Area A, including former BCC Building 75 (single-story masonry structure), the groundwater extraction system treatment building (single-story metal clad building), and several other metal-clad structures. The balance of Area A is now covered with a soil cover system, an asphalt paved parking lot and site entrance, and gravel pavement. All other buildings, aboveground tanks, and ancillary structures that were located on the site and associated with the former BCC chemical dye plant were demolished by South Buffalo Development (SBD) in 2011.

The site and surrounding area topography is generally flat but with an embankment leading to edge of the Buffalo River. The site and area surrounding the site is generally zoned for heavy industry and has been utilized for heavy industrial activity since the mid-1800s. The nearest residential areas are located approximately 1000 feet north of the site.

Current Zoning/Use: The site is currently inactive and is zoned for industrial use. Neighboring areas includes the navigable section of the Buffalo River, a heavily used rail transportation corridor, some commercial, and a residential area within 2000 feet.

Historic Uses: The site has been used for the production of dyestuffs, organic chemicals and intermediate chemicals for more than one hundred years until the BCC plant closed in 2003. The BCC plant was originally founded as the Schoellkopf Aniline and Dye Company in 1879, the plant produced dyes and organic chemicals based primarily on aniline and various aniline derivatives. The company was reorganized into the National Aniline Chemical Company in 1916. It became one of the five companies that merged to create Allied Chemical Corporation (Allied Chemical) in 1920.

In 1977, the dye-making facility and the right to produce certain dyes and intermediates were sold by Allied Chemical to BCC. At the time of the sale, the plant was divided into eight areas designated with the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. BCC purchased the manufacturing areas A through E, while Allied Chemical retained an acid plant (which was subsequently sold to PVS Chemical in 1981), the research and development facility on Area F, and the parking lots on Areas G (Elk Street) and H (Smith Street).

In 1995, DEC issued a Part 373 Post-Closure Permit to BCC to conduct a RCRA Facility Investigation for the sitewide BCC plant area, which included Area A and B. Remediation of adjoining Area D under an Order on Consent was completed in 1998. Various sitewide remedial alternatives were examined in more detail in a Corrective Measures Study Report for BCC in 2000.

In 2003, BCC ceased all production of chemicals and dyestuffs. In 2005, BCC filed for bankruptcy. Under an agreement with BCC, Honeywell (successor to Allied Chemical) entered into an Order on Consent to perform a sitewide Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS)in 2006. This report was the basis for the subsequent BCP remedial work plan submitted in early 2009. In 2006, two interim remedial measures for Area A were implemented to address environmental issues. Five groundwater extraction wells along the perimeter of the Buffalo River were installed to intercept impacted groundwater from migrating from the site, and a 200 foot long section of the riverbank was reshaped and armored with a rock filled erosion control mattress system.

In 2008, SBD purchased the remaining buildings and property on Areas A, B, C, D and E. SBD entered Areas A and B into the BCP in 2009 as a volunteer. The planned future reuse for this site is commercial and light industrial.

The BCP Remedial Action Work Plan proposed a Track 4 commercial cleanup which was approved in May 2009. The remedial plan for soil and groundwater in Area A involved removal of abandoned process equipment, demolition of unusable buildings, abandonment/plugging of unused process and storm sewers that discharges directly to the Buffalo River, the installation of a vertical hydraulic barrier (VHB) wall to compliment the effectiveness of the groundwater control system, an improved water-tight stormwater management system, and a site-wide integrated cover system.

Remediation construction activities were substantially completed in 2013. An Environmental Easement for Areas A and B was filed in 2011.

Geology: The Remedial Investigation (RI) report identifies a number of subsurface zones at the site with contrasting hydrogeologic properties. In order of increasing depth, these zones include:

Fill: This unconsolidated material is found over the majority of the surface of the site. The eastern side of Area A adjacent to the Buffalo River was extensively modified by fill where the Buffalo River channel was straightened in various sections and the original channel for the Buffalo River was filled to expand the footprint of Area A. The fill typically consists of clay, silt, crushed stone, gravel, bricks, and miscellaneous building demolition debris. Concrete pads and foundations associated with previously demolished former chemical plant structures are known to exist within the fill layer on Area A and B. The fill thickness generally ranges from 2 to 18 feet. The deeper fill areas are situated in Area A along the Buffalo River riverbank.

Clay and Silt Tills (Upper Tills): This unit is unconsolidated fine-grained clay and silt tills, with varying amounts of sand and sand seams. The thickness of this material generally ranges from 12 to 20 feet.

Glaciolacustrine Clay: This unit is primarily soft clay, with limited occurrence of fine sands. This unit underlies the entire site and has a thickness that ranges from 24 to 36 feet. Grain size analysis shows that this unit is comprised almost entirely of clay sized particles. This soil has a relatively low hydraulic conductivity and the unit is considered an aquitard that separates the shallow and underlying confined water-bearing units.

Basal Till: This unit is a mixture of sand, silt, gravel, and a minor amount of clay. This unit is encountered beneath the glaciolacustrine clay in all deep borings advanced at the former BCC plant property, and is encountered immediately above the bedrock. Thickness of this unit ranges from 2 to 5 feet.

Onondaga Limestone: This bedrock unit is described as fractured and weathered, dark gray limestone. Only the upper few feet of this unit were penetrated during site investigation activities. The bedrock surface slopes gently to the south, at a rate of approximately 1.2 feet per 100 feet.

Hydrogeology: Two aquifers have been identified at the site. The first aquifer encountered, identified as the shallow aquifer, is a saturated unconfined system within the fill and sediments above the glaciolacustrine clay unit. The second aquifer, identified as the confined aquifer, occurs within the basal till and weathered upper surface of the bedrock. The RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) report concluded that the thick, low conductivity glaciolacustrine clay unit acts as an aquitard, separating these aquifers and providing a confining layer for the deeper aquifer. Although both are part of the shallow aquifer, variability in groundwater conductivity and flow direction has been found in the saturated portion of the fill unit compared to the saturated portion of the underlying upper till unit. Groundwater flow in the shallow aquifer at the site is generally towards the Buffalo River. At some areas of the BCC plant, it was concluded that subsurface utilities and other manmade features influence local flow conditions. Sewer lines and associated backfill are below the water table at various locations and were found to act as groundwater discharge points because depressions in the water table surface at the site coincided with the location of utilities. Shallow groundwater is typically first encountered within 10 feet of the ground surface, at the interface of the fill/upper till and varies seasonally.

Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available on DEC's website.

Brownfield Cleanup Program

New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) encourages the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as "brownfields" so that they can be reused and redeveloped. These uses include recreation, housing, business or other uses. A brownfield is any real property that is difficult to reuse or redevelop because of the presence or potential presence of contamination. For more information about the BCP, visit DEC's website.

Who to Contact

Questions regarding the investigation of this site are welcome. Should you have any questions, please contact the following representatives:

Environment Related Questions
Mr. Eugene Melnyk
NYS DEC
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

Development Related Questions
Mr. John Yensan
South Buffalo Development
333 Ganson Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-3333 Ext. 302

Health Related Questions
Mr. Nathan Freeman
NYS DOH
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, Rm. 1787
Albany, NY 12237
518-402-7860
beei@health.state.ny.us

Where to Find Information

Two locations have been established as document repositories to provide you with access to project information. Documents are available at:

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

Dudley Branch Library
2010 South Park Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220
(716) 823-1854

For More Information

We encourage you to share this fact sheet with neighbors and tenants, and/or post this fact sheet in a prominent area of your building for others to see.

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Site Location

Aerial view of Areas A and B within the Buffalo Color brownfield site
Aerial view of Areas A and B within the Buffalo Color brownfield site