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National Fuel Gas - Buffalo Service Center

Site Number: V00362

Fact Sheet - July 2012

National Fuel Gas - Buffalo Service Center Update: Focused Excavation in former Wilkeson Slip June - September 2012

Aerial view of excavation area in the former Wilkeson Slip
Aerial view of excavation area in the former Wilkeson Slip

WSP Engineering of New York and Buffalo-based contractors are planning a focused excavation on property owned by the City of Buffalo near the Waterfront School and HealthNow Headquarters Building in June, July and August. Some restoration work may be completed in early September.

The area being excavated is a small section of the former Wilkeson Slip in accordance with a Work Plan approved by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The former Wilkeson Slip area was part of the Erie Canal system that was filled many decades ago. The materials used to fill the slip may have contained oily residues and other hydrocarbons that exceed today's cleanup standards. A number of simultaneous activities will occur at the site to remove residuals left by historical industrial practices, and to restore the site for the existing utility right of way and sidewalk. The activities include:

  1. Sampling and Testing,
  2. Removal and Treatment of Groundwater,
  3. Excavating, and
  4. Backfilling

During portions of the work the northbound lane of Fourth Street will be closed. Traffic control will be provided to route trucks from the site.

Site Timeline

19th Century
Area used as slip portion for The Erie Canal
Decades Ago
Area backfilled
Site redeveloped
Previous remediation work
sampling and testing, groundwater removal and treatment, excavating and backfilling

By the Numbers

6/28 - 9/15/12: dates of work; scheduled between Waterfront school years
2,500 tons: approx # of material to be removed for offsite transportation and disposal
10 hour days: proposed work schedule to complete job before Waterfront School starts in the fall
8 people: approx # of people to complete work

Sampling and Testing

All work will be conducted according to documents approved by New York State Department of Health (DOH) and DEC including: a Health and Safety Plan, a Community Air Monitoring Plan, and the approved Work Plan. In addition, a DEC inspector will be assigned to the project. The DOH will be provided all air monitoring data within 48-hours of collection.

The state-approved Work Plan dictates that the air, soil, and groundwater at the site be tested on a specific frequency and for specified compounds. The Work Plan and Health and Safety Plan are written to ensure protection of site workers and the public. The Community Air Monitoring Plan verifies that the Health and Safety Plan and Work Plan are effective.

We are especially aware of the potential for dust and odor at the site. Air is to be monitored at the fence line upwind and downwind of the site. These monitoring locations provide data that will allow us to stop work before there is any potential risk to the health of our workers and long before any potential health risk to the public. During a much larger project adjacent to this work, the air testing confirmed that the dust is properly controlled and odors at the site do not come close to posing any risk to the workers or the public.

Several actions will be taken to control dust and odors:

  • Trucks will be inspected and tires will be cleaned before leaving the site and pavement will be cleaned daily as needed.
  • A majority of the soil from excavation will be directly loaded into trucks for shipment to a state-permitted landfill. Direct loading reduces the amount of time these soils remain at the site and therefore the odor they produce.
  • The piles of soil to be stockpiled at the site are clean soils to be used for backfill. The stockpiles producing odor will be covered with tarps.
  • Special foam will be used to cover areas in the bottom of the excavation that are particularly odorous.

Removal and Treatment of Groundwater

In accordance with the state-approved Work Plans, de-watering of the excavation will occur as long as the bottom of the excavation is below the existing water table. The groundwater will be pumped to a treatment system at the site, and then discharged to the Buffalo Sewer Authority under appropriate permit for final treatment. All samples of the groundwater collected from a previous system showed that the water collected and treated met all applicable discharge criteria for the local sanitary sewer system. In fact, while most of the water collected may be discharged without treatment, WSP Engineering and their contractors will treat 100 percent of the groundwater collected from the excavation.


The goal of this project is to remove fill and soil that contain compounds from historical industrial activities that exceed the DEC defined cleanup standards. The state-approved Work Plan was developed to remove fill and soil from the excavation and transport them to approved disposal facilities. Following the excavation of the fill and soil, the excavation will be backfilled with flowable fill (a low strength concrete) and soil.


Please be aware that no one is allowed in the work area except employees of WSP Engineering, their Buffalo-based subcontractors, and the DEC employees who have been specifically identified and trained for the tasks being performed. The excavations, and the heavy equipment and trucks all pose safety concerns for people not specifically trained in excavation safety. To discourage inappropriate access to the site, the property will be surrounded by a fence and security will be maintained.


This project is a perfect example of how progress can be made when the New York State regulations and business interests are aligned. This formerly environmentally distressed property is being voluntarily cleaned up and placed back into service, bringing jobs and other improvements to the community. It is our goal to make the cleanup process as safe and effective as possible.

Where to Find Information

Project documents are available at the following location to help the public stay informed. For more information, please visit the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP).

Buffalo/Erie Public Library
Central Library, Reference Section
Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

NYS DEC's Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
*By appointment only: please call Mr. Walia, 716-851-7220

Who to Contact

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

Project Related Questions:
Jaspal Walia
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203-2915

Site-Related Health Questions:
Scarlett Messier-McLaughlin
NYS DOH, Public Health Specialist
Flanigan Square, Room 300
547 River Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 402-7860

Construction Questions:
John Black
WSP Engineering of New York, P.C.
11190 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20191

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