Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Polymer Applications State Superfund Site

Site Number 915044

Fact Sheet - February 2011
Cleanup Action to Begin at Polymer Applications Site In Town of Tonawanda


Action is about to begin that will address contamination related to Polymer Applications State Superfund site located at 3445 River Road in the Town of Tonawanda. The cleanup action for the site includes excavating soils from a bio-treatment cell at the site that contain significant levels of contamination and capping the site with clean soil. The cleanup activities will be performed by a remedial contractor with full-time oversight provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

Highlights of the Upcoming Cleanup Activities

The goal of the cleanup action for the site is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment. The cleanup will include:

  • Excavating and temporarily storing on site the top 2 feet of clean soil from the bio-treatment cell that was originally constructed to treat contaminated soil. The clean soil will later be placed back into the area of excavation;
  • Excavating the soil in the on-site bio-treatment cell and either taking it off site for treatment/disposal or replacing it on site if considered clean. It is estimated that 9,100 cubic yards (15,500 tons) of bio-treatment cell soil below 2 feet in depth is contaminated at concentrations above cleanup levels and must be removed and disposed of off-site. All soil within the cell boundaries will be excavated to an approximate depth of 8 feet below ground surface;
  • Backfilling the excavation with the top 2 feet of clean soil previously excavated and with imported clean fill, followed by placement of topsoil and seed;
  • Dismantling and removing the on-site treatment system building and equipment;
  • Demolishing and disposing of the buildings located within and surrounding the bio-treatment cell; and
  • Removing and disposing of groundwater monitoring wells, recovery wells, and all associated underground piping within the excavation limits.

Next Steps

The NYSDEC is expected to begin cleanup activities at the site in mid February 2011. These activities are anticipated to take about six months to complete at an estimated cost of $5.5 million. A Health and Safety Plan for the work was reviewed to ensure that on-site workers and the nearby community are protected during these activities. All truck traffic to and from the site associated with excavation and off-site disposal activities will be limited to non-residential areas as much as practical. Furthermore, transportation routes will be kept clean of soil and fill materials generated during site cleanup activities.

After completion of cleanup activities, the NYSDEC will prepare a Final Engineering Report. The Final Engineering Report will describe the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved. The NYSDEC will also develop a site management plan which will require (a) continued evaluation of the potential for vapor intrusion for any buildings developed on the site, including provision for addressing any impacts identified; (b) monitoring of groundwater (if necessary); and (c) identification of any use restrictions on the Site.

In addition, the NYSDEC will impose an environmental easement on the site that will require (a) limiting the use and development of the property to commercial or industrial use; (b) compliance with the approved site management plan; (c) restricting the use of groundwater as a source of potable or process water, without necessary water quality treatment as determined by the New York State Department of Health ("NYSDOH"); and (d) periodic certification by the property owner to show that site restrictions and requirements for use are being followed.

Site Background

The Polymer Applications site is a 6.7 acre parcel located in a heavily industrialized area in the Town of Tonawada in Erie County. It is located on the eastern side of River Road, directly across from the NRG Huntley power generating facility. Polymer Applications, Inc. operated at the site from 1968 through 1988. Its activities included the manufacture of phenolic resins, phenol-formaldehyde resins, plastics, and various rubber products for use in the automotive, paint, and coatings industries. In July 1988, a major fire severely damaged the process and tank farm areas of the site. An estimated 70,000 gallons of a phenol/solvent mixture were released during the fire. Since that time, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DEC have performed cleanup actions at the site. In 1996, EPA removed a number of hazardous materials, including drums, chemical storage tanks and other hazardous substances. In 2005 through 2006, DEC performed additional measures, including:

  • Removing and disposing 3,537 tons of contaminated concrete;
  • Removing and disposing approximately 8,500 tons of contaminated soil;
  • Removing and disposing hazardous materials such as chemical storage drums and asbestos;
  • Installing two wells to extract potentially contaminated deep aquifer groundwater; and
  • Excavating and consolidating contaminated off-site soils for bio-treatment in a containment cell.

After analyzing containment cell soil samples in 2007, the bio-treatments system was shut down because it failed to significantly reduce contaminant concentrations. A 2009 amendment to the original cleanup plan proposed to excavate contaminated soils in the containment cell and dispose of them offsite.

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

Environmental Questions
David Chiusano
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, NY 12233
(508) 402-9814

Health Questions
Matt Forcucci
584 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 847-4385

Locations to View Project Documents

To keep you informed, NYSDEC has set up two locations at which you may view project documents. These locations include:

Kenmore Library
160 Delaware Road
Kenmore, NY 14217
Phone: (716) 876-6929

NYSDEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 851-7220 (Please call for appointment)

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

  • Important Links
  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 716-851-7220.
  • Contact for this Page
    Region 9 Office
    270 Michigan Avenue
    Buffalo, NY 14203
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 9