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Gastown MGP Tonawanda

Site Number 915171

Digital Files

Site Timeline

1884 - 1921
Site operated as an MGP
March: Coal tar leaks into Gastown Sportsman Club
2001 - 2004
Remedial Investigation
March: original ROD approved
National Fuel Gas entered into a Consent Order with DEC to remediate site
Phase 1 of the remedy was performed to remove an on-site tank containing tarry-soil, debris, and water


An MGP was operated at this site from 1884 until 1921, making a combustible gas from coal and petroleum which was used for cooking, heating and lighting. The hot gas was stored in on-site gas holders. As it cooled, the gas released a condensate called "coal tar," which was a black or brown liquid with a strong odor. Coal tar is the primary contaminant at this site. Coal tar is a type of non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL), an oily substance similar to driveway sealant, which does not readily mix with water.

Site Investigation

In March 1993, the DEC Spill Response Unit responded to a complaint that an unknown oily substance was entering basement sumps at the Gastown Sportsman's Club. This substance was subsequently identified as coal tar, and chemical analysis showed that it contained enough benzene to be defined as a characteristic hazardous waste.

In September 1998, a groundwater/tar extraction and treatment system was installed just west of the Gastown Sportsmen's Club building. The purpose of this system was to intercept the tar and the contaminated groundwater associated with it, before it could enter the basement sumps.

From June 2001 through July 2004, the DEC conducted a Remedial Investigation (RI) to determine the nature and extent of contamination at this site. The RI started with test pits and soil borings in the areas of known coal tar contamination, and then expanded outwards until the limit of the contamination was defined. This primarily involved the use of direct push soil borings to delineate the extent of coal tar and contaminated soil, which was then followed by the installation of monitoring wells to define the extent of groundwater contamination. Soil vapor samples were collected following the delineation of groundwater contamination.

Additional site investigations were performed to refine the remedial approach by National Fuel Gas following the execution of the Consent Order with DEC in 2008. The findings from these remedial design approach investigations were used to evaluate the basis for the proposed ROD Amendment.

Figure 1 – Proposed amended ROD excavation
Figure 1 - Proposed amended ROD excavation

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

Voluntary Cleanup Program

New York established its Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) to address the environmental, legal and financial barriers that often hinder the redevelopment and reuse of contaminated properties. The VCP was developed to enhance private sector cleanup of brownfields by enabling parties to remediate sites using private rather than public funds and to reduce the development pressures on "greenfield" sites. For more information about the VCP, please visit DEC's website.

Where to Find Information

Public interest in this project is valued and appreciated. Project documents are available at the following location to help the public stay informed. You may also view electronic versions of project documents in the Digital Files section above (if available). Large documents may be abbreviated to meet DEC's file size requirements for posting to the website. Hard copies of full project documents are available at the listed locations.

City of Tonawanda Public Library
333 Main Street
Tonawanda, NY 14150

NYS DEC Central Office
Attn: Richard Dana, CPG
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233

NYS DEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY14203
(Call for appointment)

Who to Contact

Comments and questions are always welcome and should be directed as follows:

Project Related Questions:
Richard Dana
DEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
(518) 402-9662

Site-Related Health Questions:
Matthew Forcucci
584 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14202

For More Information

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Site Location

Aerial view of Gastown site
Aerial view of Gastown site