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Tract I Highland Avenue BCP Site

Site Number C932157

June 2014 Fact Sheet

Tract I Update: Report Recommends No Further Action at Brownfield Site;
Public Comment Period Announced

Aerial view of the Tract 1 site
Aerial view of Tract I site

The public is invited to comment on a proposed remedy being reviewed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to address contamination related to the Tract I Highland Avenue site ("site") located at 3123 Highland Avenue, Niagara Falls, Niagara County. 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."

How to Comment

NYSDEC is accepting written comments about the proposed remedial plan for 45 days, from June 10, 2014 through July 25, 2014. The proposed plan is available for public review at the locations identified below under "Where to Find Information." Please submit comments to the NYSDEC project manager listed under Project Related Questions in the "Who to Contact" area below.

No Further Action Remedy

The result of the cleanup is described in the Draft Alternatives Analysis Report (AAR) prepared by Amec Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., dated May 2014.

The proposed remedy is based on the completion of interim remedial measures (IRMs) conducted prior to the submittal of the AAR. The completed IRMs include the following:

  • Demolition of the former Power City Warehouse including removal of concrete floors and foundations and the filling in of the basement area with clean backfill.
  • Excavation and off-Site disposal of approximately 50 cubic yards of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) identified in two areas of the Site.
  • Excavation and off-Site disposal of approximately 11,000 cubic yards of soils containing constituents (primarily lead) that exceeded the Commercial Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs).
  • Removal and off-Site disposal of four underground storage tanks (USTs).

At the completion of the IRMs post excavation soil sampling was conducted to confirm that remaining soil meets Commercial SCOs. Brightfields Corporation will be submitting a Final Engineering Report, for NYSDEC review, to document cleanup requirements have been achieved to fully protect public health and the environment for the proposed site use.

The proposed remedy requires that institutional controls, in the form of Environmental Easement, be placed on the site that prevent the future use of the property for residential or unrestricted (e.g. agricultural, high contact recreation, etc.) purposes. A Site Management Plan and Environmental Easement will be prepared and implemented to ensure enforcement of the easement. The Site will be monitored on an annual basis to ensure the institutional controls remain in effect and monitoring will be documented through submission of a Periodic Review Report to the Department.

Summary of the Investigation

Based upon investigations conducted, lead was identified as the primary contaminant of concern. Lead was detected inside the former building in surface soil from beneath the floors and in sediment from inside drains or sumps. Lead levels inside the building ranged from 2,350 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to 178,000 mg/kg. Lead concentrations outside of the building ranged from 2,790 to 8,240 mg/kg. Soil concentrations exceeded the hazardous waste Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) lead criteria in the northeast corner and along the southern boundary of the Site ranging from 18.4 to 69.7 milligrams per liter (mg/l). Soil concentrations of other metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, copper, mercury, zinc), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were also detected within the site boundaries above Commercial SCOs. A radiological survey was conducted at the site due to the observance of suspected Technologically-Enhanced, Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) material during the site investigation. The TENORM material is in the form of a hard, rock like, metallurgical slag that was once produced in the Western NY area as a by-product of the processing of phosphate ore and was commonly used as fill at many industrial sites, roadways, parking lot and fill areas in northern Erie and western Niagara County. Two areas of suspected TENORM slag exceeding the twice background cleanup criterion value of 13,400 counts per minute (CPM) were observed beneath the Power City Warehouse floors during demolition activities. No significant groundwater contamination was identified on Site. A few metals and pesticides were detected at concentrations exceeding NYSDEC groundwater standards and Trichloroethene was detected at 8.7 micrograms per liter (ug/l), slightly above the 5 ug/l standard, in one well however, local ordinance mandates the use of municipal water thereby limiting any future human exposure.

Next Steps

NYSDEC will complete its review, make any necessary revisions and, if appropriate, approve the report and it's no further action recommendation. The approved report will be made available to the public (see "Where to Find Information" below).

Upon the approval of the report and the submission of final documents, the NYSDEC will issue a "Certificate of Completion" to the applicant(s). Upon receiving a Certificate of Completion, the applicant(s):

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

The applicant(s) will be eligible to redevelop the site after receiving the Certificate of Completion from NYSDEC. A Certificate of Completion may be modified or revoked if, for example, an applicant does not comply with the terms and conditions of its Brownfield Cleanup Agreement with NYSDEC.


Location: The Tract I site is located in a mixed light industrial, commercial and residential area at 3123 Highland Ave in the City of Niagara Falls in Niagara County. It is approximately 5.90 acres and is bounded by Highland Ave to the west, the Tulip Corporation, a plastic recycling company to the north, a 60 foot wide National Grid Corp. utility right-of-way to the east and the Tract II Highland Avenue State Superfund Site (DEC Site Number 932136) to the south and east. Several commercial establishments and the Niagara Falls Alternative School are located to the west of the Property. Residential areas are located approximately 400 feet south and 700 feet east of the site.

Site Features: The site was mostly covered (approximately 3.3 acres) by the former Power City Warehouse Building, a three-story masonry building, which was in various levels of disrepair (the building has been demolished, as noted above). A small one-story building (approximately 462 square feet) is located in the northeast corner of the site. Roughly 30 percent of the site was grass and concrete surface, 15 percent wooded and undergrowth, and approximately 55 percent building structures. The western portion of the site consisted of a grassy area and a gravel drive to the loading dock area.

Historical Uses: The Power City Warehouse was formerly a battery manufacturing facility. Sometime around 1910, U.S. Light and Hest Co., and later Autolite Co., began automobile, truck, and tractor battery manufacturing. Prestolite Co. acquired the facility in the 1960s and retooled operations for manufacturing of hard rubber battery cases, filling of batteries with sulfuric acid, and battery charging. Operations at the facility ceased in the mid-1970s and relocated to 3001 Highland Avenue. After battery manufacturing ended in the mid-1970s, the site was used as an automotive body shop and a warehouse. The site has been vacant since the late 1980s. In 1990, the city of Niagara Falls retained ownership of the site due to tax foreclosure. Due to historical operations at the site, there were environmental concerns about potential residual impacts associated with the battery manufacturing processes.

Brownfield Cleanup Program: In December 2011, Brightfields Corporation submitted a BCP application to further evaluate the contamination at the site, and to evaluate remedial alternatives to address this contamination. This site was accepted into the BCP in March 2012. A Brownfield Cleanup Agreement between the applicant and DEC was executed in April 2012. The applicant submitted an IRM work plan for building demolition, a Data summary report and a RI WP which have been approved by DEC.

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

Air Monitoring Data

Six real-time air monitoring stations continually monitor dust and weather during demolition and cleanup activities. These monitors contain alarms to indicate if dust is exceeding limits set by governmental regulatory agencies. In the event any limit is exceeded, work will immediately cease, a thorough evaluation will be performed, and corrective measures will be taken prior to work resuming. All air monitoring results are available for public review by clicking on the air monitoring link in the right hand margin.

All air monitoring results are available for public review at the project document depository located in the Doris Jones Family Resource Center.

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.

Where to Find Information

Project documents are available at the following locations to help the public stay informed.

Doris W. Jones Family Resource Center
3001 9th Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14305

DEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203

Who to Contact

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

Project Related Questions
Timothy Dieffenbach
Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Remediation
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203

Site-Related Health Questions
Matthew Forcucci
New York State Department of Health
584 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202

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

Location of Tract I Brownfield site in relation to the Tract II Superfund Site
Tract I Brownfield site (in red) in relation to the Tract II Superfund site