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ExxonMobil Former Buffalo Terminal Site

Site Number C915201

Fact Sheet - April 2013
ExxonMobil Update: Cleanup Action to Begin

Action is about to begin that will address the contamination related to Operable Unit No. 4 at the ExxonMobil Oil Former Buffalo Terminal site ("site") located at 625 Elk Street, Buffalo, Erie County under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). Please see the map for the Site Location.

Documents related to the cleanup of this site can be found at the locations identified below under Where to Find Information.

The cleanup activities will be performed by ExxonMobil Oil Corporation ("applicant") with oversight provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

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 action for the site includes:

  • To prevent contaminated fill from eroding into the Buffalo River, the riverbank will be cut back, stabilized and vegetated.
  • To prevent the migration of contaminated groundwater (and petroleum product floating on the groundwater) a vertical low permeable wall will be constructed surrounding the operable unit.
  • To prevent contact with contaminated soil, a low permeable cover system will be installed across the surface of the operable unit. The cover system will also prevent clean storm water from coming into contact with contaminated soil.
  • A treatment wetland will be constructed to handle storm water after implementation of the remedy.

Next Steps

After the applicant completes cleanup activities at the site, they will prepare a Final Engineering Report (FER) and submit it to DEC. The FER will describe the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved. The construction in operable unit No. 4 is expected to be complete in early 2014.


The remediation of this site is currently being addressed under the BCP.

The site is 90.4 acres in size and located on Elk Street in the City of Buffalo, Erie County. The site is bisected by Babcock Street running north-south and Prenatt Street, which is a paper street, running east-west. The site is bordered on the north by a mixture of commercial and residential properties, on the east and west by commercial businesses and on the south by the Buffalo River.

Site Features:
The site is relatively flat with multiple large above ground petroleum storage tanks. Several occupied and vacant buildings exist on-site. An inactive northeasterly-trending railroad right of way separates the eastern tank yard area (OU-4) from the rest of the ExxonMobil former Buffalo Terminal site.

Current Zoning/Use:
The site is currently zoned industrial. It is located in an urban area, generally surrounded by a mixture of industrial and commercial property. There are a few isolated residential parcels located immediately to the north. A large portion of the site is vacant. The largest active facility on-site is a petroleum distribution terminal. Several smaller commercial businesses operate on the western end of the site.

Historical Uses:
Since the 1880s, the site has been used for petroleum refining and storage. Refining operations terminated in the 1980s. Former refinery, lube plant and terminal activities have impacted this

On April 3, 2006, the site entered the BCP to address comprehensive remediation of the site.

Operable Units:
The site has been segregated into (5) operable units (OU) based on past use and nature of contamination. An operable unit represents a portion of a remedial program for a site that for technical or administrative reasons can be addressed separately to investigate, eliminate or mitigate a release, threat of release or exposure pathway resulting from the site contamination.

OU-1 encompasses several former residential parcels north of Elk Street. Remediation of OU-1 was completed in 2007. The remedy included excavation and off-site disposal of 5,615 tons of soil contaminated with metals and SVOCs.

OU-2 is located south of Elk street and formerly housed refining and petroleum storage facilities. Remediation completed in OU-2 includes the removal of approximately 22 miles of below ground process piping. OU-2 has been investigated to determine the nature and extent of soil/fill which is grossly contaminated with petroleum products and/or is hazardous based on lead levels. Bench scale and field studies have been completed to assess remedial options to address grossly contaminated soil and hazardous lead soil. A Site Investigation and Alternatives Analysis is currently under review.

OU-3 is located along the northern shore of the Buffalo River and formerly housed petroleum refining and storage facilities (active petroleum storage presently occurs in this location). A large subsurface plume of free product will be the focus of remedial efforts in OU-3. Currently, ground water and product pumping systems are utilized to capture free product and prevent the migration of free product to the river.

OU-4 is located on the north shore of the Buffalo River. This area was filled by the City of Buffalo with municipal waste to realign the Buffalo River in the early 1900s. More recently, ExxonMobil utilized this area for the disposal of tank bottom sludge and for petroleum storage. Remediation completed in OU-4 includes the operation of a Chem-Ox system (injection of hydrogen peroxide and ozone into the subsurface) to oxidize and mobilize (for extraction) a free product plume. The Chem-Ox injections were terminated in the summer of 2009. Additional remediation is necessary. The Decision Document outlining the final remedy was issued in March 2011. Implementation of the selected remedy will being in the spring of 2013

OU-5 includes the river sediment along the north shore of the Buffalo River adjacent to the main site.

Site Geology and Hydrogeology:
Three unconsolidated deposits exist throughout the majority of the site including a fill layer (cinders, ash, slag, sand, brick, concrete, etc), underlain by an alluvial deposit layer consisting of silt, sands, gravel and clay and an alluvial deposit layer consisting of glacio-Lacustrine clay which acts as a confining layer. Groundwater is approximately 3 to 20+ feet below ground surface and generally flows southwest toward the Buffalo River.

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

Brownfield Cleanup Program

New York's 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.

Who to Contact

Development Questions:
Joseph Abel
1001 Wampanoag Trail
Riverside RI 02915
(401) 434-7356

Project Related Questions:
Chad Staniszewski
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

Site Related Health Questions:
Matthew Forcucci
584 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 847-4501

Where to Find Information

Public understanding and involvement are important to the success of New York's Brownfield programs. To keep you informed, DEC has established the following locations where you can view project documents:

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

NYS DEC Buffalo Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7220

For More Information

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Site Location

Aerial view of ExxonMobil brownfield site
Aerial view of ExxonMobil brownfield site