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AlTech Specialty Steel State Superfund Site

Site Number 907022

Fact Sheet March 2014

AlTech Update: Cleanup Action to Begin at Superfund Site

Introduction

Core sampling bank soil of pond
Core sampling bank soil of pond

Action is about to begin that will address the contamination related to a portion of the Al Tech Specialty Steel Corporation site ("site") located at Willowbrook Avenue, Dunkirk, Chautauqua County under New York's State Superfund Program. Please see the map for the Site Location.

The site is listed as a Class "2" site in the State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites (list of State Superfund sites). A Class 2 site represents a significant threat to public health or the environment; action is required.

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 DEC.

Digital Files

Record of Decision (46 page PDF, 4.48 MB)

By the Numbers:

Superfund Numbers:
1.65
acres - Willowbrook Pond's size, man-made cooling pond
12 years - length building has remained vacant
30 days - length of public comment period
90 acres - size of AlTech site
4,689 yards3 - amount of contaminated soil removed during 2007 IRM
178,000 sq. ft. - area of former manufacturing facility of the LAP building
$2.7 million - cost of cleanup

Site Timeline:

1907 Atlas Crucible Steel Company, site used to manufacture iron and steel
1976 A management group buyout obtains Bar Products Division from Allegheny Ludlum and forms AlTech Specialty Steel
1997 - 1999 AlTech bankruptcy
1998 Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites listing - Class 2
1999 Formation of Dunkirk Specialty Steel (a.k.a Empire Specialty Steel), RealCo retains environmental responsibility for Lucas Avenue Plant (LAP), Willowbrook Pond and portion of Brigham Road Plant
2003 Phase II (RFI) and ICM Study
2008 Soil Vapor Intrusion Study
2007 IRM removed contaminated soils containing, excavation required partial demolition of existing building

Highlights of the Upcoming Cleanup Activities

Contaminated sediments deposited when pond was in operation
Contaminated sediments deposited when pond was in operation

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 operable unit 2A (OU2A) at the site primarily includes:

  1. Dewatering of Willowbrook Pond;
  2. Excavation and off-site disposal of impacted pond sediment and soil; and
  3. Backfilling of pond, construction of a final surface soil cover system, grading for proper surface drainage.

The work is expected to cost $2.7 million and is being funded by DEC through the State's Superfund program.

Next Steps

Work is expected to begin in April 2014 and be completed by Fall 2014. After completion of the cleanup activities, DEC 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.

DEC will keep the public informed throughout the cleanup of the site.

Background

Backhoe digging test pits along the side of the pond
Backhoe digging test pits along the side of the pond

Location: The former AlTech Specialty Steel Corp. (AlTech) is an approximately 90 acre industrial site in the City of Dunkirk, Chautauqua County. Located north of Willowbrook Avenue, south of Lucas Avenue, east of Brigham Road the site is surrounded by mixed residential/commercial parcels including, single family residential, a lumber supply center, a municipal garage and the Dunkirk High School athletic fields.

Site Features: The main facilities contain a mixture of active and inactive buildings and open land. The active facilities are partially fenced and consist mainly of the Brigham Road Plant and the Bar Finish and Storage Facility. There are inactive buildings, such as, the Howard Avenue Plant which are used for various purposes. An approximately 1.65 acre man-made cooling pond known as Willowbrook Pond is located in the southwest corner of the main facilities. A tributary to Crooked Brook flows southeast to northwest toward Lake Erie through the southwest corner of the site. Open land on and around the main facilities includes maintained lawn areas and unmaintained former fill and disposal areas that have vegetated with native opportunistic grass, brush and tree species.

North of the main facilities is the former Lucas Avenue Plant (LAP.) The LAP is a one-story, approximately 178,000-square-foot former manufacturing facility located on the south side of the west end of Lucas Avenue. Situated on a rectangular parcel of land 2,025' by 200' the LAP was formerly a part of the larger adjoining Al Tech site. The original LAP facility was constructed in 1909, with additions constructed in 1920, 1936, 1940 and 1968. The site is bordered by a rail line to the south, Brigham Road to the west, a City of Dunkirk Department of Public Works (DPW) building to the east and Lucas Avenue to the north. A residential neighborhood and public school are located on the north side of Lucas Avenue.

Oil blebs surfacing from the sediments
Oil "blebs" surfacing from the sediments

Zoning/Uses: Current zoning is industrial. Since 2002, Dunkirk Acquisition, LLC d.b.a. Dunkirk Specialty Steel, has operated a large portion of the site as a steel and stainless steel processing facility.

Historical Uses: Industrial use of the site has included the manufacture of iron and steel dating back to 1908. Foundry operations gave way to forging and finishing of stainless steel rod and wire from supplied billets. Past operations at the facility leading to site contamination have included; pickling operations using molten sodium or barium salts, trichloroethylene pickle baths, metal plating operations, solid waste disposal, spillages and discharges into the cooling pond.

Experiencing financial difficulties through the late 1990's AlTech Specialty Steel ceased operations in 2001. An asset holding corporation, named RealCo emerged from these difficulties to address environmental issues at the idled facility, including, but not limited to the Lucas Avenue Plant and Willowbrook Pond. In 2002 Dunkirk Acquisition, LLC d.b.a. Dunkirk Specialty Steel acquired out of bankruptcy, the assets of the AlTech Site except for the Lucas Avenue Plant, the Brigham Road Pickle Room and the Willowbrook Pond.

The AlTech site is divided into three operable units.

OU1: Lucas Avenue Plant - this includes the building and the property owned by RealCo situated north of the railway parallel to Lucas Avenue.

OU2: Willowbrook Pond

OU2A: This includes the pond area (subject of this remediation); and

OU2B: This includes a portion of the Brigham Road Plant that has been demolished and the off-site extent of the impacted Tributary of Crooked Brook to the west of the site.

OU3: AlTech Plant - This includes the remaining property within in the main facility area owned by Dunkirk Acquisition LLC.

Geology-Hydrology: The site is located on broad glacio-lacustrine sedimentary deposits. Soils are tight silty, clayey soils consisting of urban fill over silt loams of the Niagara Silt loam complex. Groundwater is about ten feet below the ground surface and is limited due to the tight nature of the bedrock and soils, however localized ponding can occur. Any groundwater present flows generally to the north toward Lake Erie but is strongly influenced by topographic features and man-made pathways. Bedrock is the Upper Devonian Shales of the Canadaway Group.

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

State Superfund Program

New York's State Superfund Program (SSF) identifies and characterizes suspected inactive hazardous waste disposal sites. Sites that pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment go through a process of investigation, evaluation, cleanup and monitoring. DEC attempts to identify parties responsible for site contamination and require cleanup before committing State funds. For more information about the SSF, visit DEC's website.

Where to Find Information

Project documents are available at the following location to help the public stay informed. Visit DEC's website for more information about the State Superfund Program.

Dunkirk Free Library
Attn: Ms. Janice Dekoff
536 Central Avenue
Dunkirk, NY 14048
716-366-2511
dunkirklibrary@gmail.com

NYS DEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
716-851-7220
(Call for appointment)

Who to Contact

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

Project Related Questions:
Maurice Moore
NYS DEC
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203
716-851-7220
mfmoore@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Project Related Questions:
David J. Chiusano
NYS DEC
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, NY 12233
518-402-9814
djchiusa@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Site-Related Health Questions:
Matthew Forcucci
NYS DOH
584 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14202
716-847-4501
beei@health.state.ny.us

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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As a listserv member, you will periodically receive site-related information/announcements for all contaminated sites in the county(ies) you select.

Site Location

Aerial view of AlTech Specialty Steel Superfund Site
Aerial view of AlTech Specialty Steel Superfund Site