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Lackawanna Incinerator

Site Number 915206

Fact Sheet September 2012
Lackawanna Incinerator Site Update: Investigation to Begin at State Superfund Site

Lackawanna Incinerator Site: scrap metal dump area on site
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: scrap metal dump area on site

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will soon begin a detailed environmental study at Lackawanna Incinerator Site ("site") located at 2960 South Park Ave., City of Lackawanna, Erie County. Please see Site Location for the map. Documents related to the remedial investigation of this site can be found at the locations identified below under Where to Find Information.

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.

By the Numbers

1.57 acres - area of site
2 - # of former incinerators on site
20 ft - height of large mound in center of site
270 ft - frontage on Smokes Creek
1,000-23,000 ppm - range of lead in test samples
1,600 sq ft - area of 1927 building
10,800 sq ft - area of 1950 building

Site Timeline

Lackawanna Incinerator Site: 1950 incinerator building
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: 1950 incinerator building

1927 - 1950
First municipal incinerator starts operation
1950 - 1980
Second municipal incinerator starts operation
April: City conducts Site Investigation/ Remedial Alternatives study
Current Use

  • Storage and staging for the City Department of Public Works
  • Kennels for Animal Control Officer

September: field work begins
Summer: Feasibility Study

Investigation Work Plan

The investigation work plan, called a "Remedial Investigation Work Plan," was created under New York's State Superfund Program. The investigation will be performed by DEC. The investigation will assess conditions on-site (and, if appropriate, off-site).

Highlights of the Remedial Investigation

Lackawanna Incinerator Site: north end of site looking south
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: north end of site looking south

The remedial investigation has several goals:

  1. Define the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected;
  2. Identify the source(s) of the contamination;
  3. Assess the impact of the contamination on public health and the environment; and
  4. Provide information to support the development of a proposed remedy to address the contamination.

Next Steps

The information collected during the investigation will be summarized in a report. In conjunction with the remedial investigation, DEC will prepare a "Feasibility Study." This study uses information collected during the site investigation to develop and evaluate potential ways to clean up contamination related to the site. Another possibility is that the results of the site investigation may support the conclusion that no action, or no further action, is needed to address site-related contamination.

DEC will then develop a draft cleanup plan, called a "Proposed Remedial Action Plan." This plan will describe the remedy preferred by DEC, or a no action or no further action alternative. The draft cleanup plan will summarize the decision that led to the preferred remedy by discussing each alternative and the reasons for choosing or rejecting it. The goal of the plan will be to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. DEC will present the draft cleanup plan to the public for its review and comment during a 30-day comment period and following a public meeting. It is anticipated that a draft plan would be available in late 2013.


Lackawanna Incinerator Site: the area is used by the City of Lackawanna’s DPW
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: the area is used by the
City of Lackawanna's DPW

The Lackawanna Incinerator Site is situated on a 1.57 acre city-owned parcel of land at 2960 South Park Avenue in an urban area of the City of Lackawanna, Erie County, NY.

Site Features:
The site's main structural features are two red-brick, multi-story buildings and associated chimneys that housed municipal solid waste incinerators. The southern incinerator building was constructed in 1927 and the northern incinerator building was constructed circa 1950. In the center of the site is a large ramp-like mound of fill (approximately 20 feet in elevation at its highest) that provides access to the northern incinerator's third floor. There is a primarily unpaved area on the southern portion of the property with a framed shed currently used to house equipment for the City DPW.

The site is enclosed and secured by a 6-foot chain link fence that extends to the DPW garage property to the south where a gate provides access to both properties. To the north of the site lies Smokes Creek; to the east is a grassy field that is part of the Baker Hall School property; and to the west is a sports athletic field and stadium with a 70+ space asphalt parking area along South Park Avenue that serves the athletic field.

A storm sewer system exists onsite with two (2) catch basins on the east and west of the northern incinerator building. Two reinforced concrete conduits (one 12-inch, one 24-inch) carry storm water flow from the site to Smokes Creek.

A few commercial parcels are located immediately adjacent to the site with numerous single-family residential properties located just beyond the site to the west and south. To the north are Smokes Creek (flows west to Lake Erie) and then the Holy Cross Cemetery. To the east is the Baker Hall School. Immediately to the west is a recreational athletic field and stadium, currently known as Lackawanna's Veterans Stadium (formerly as the Ron Jaworski Stadium and the South Park Stadium).

Lackawanna Incinerator Site: the area is used by the City of Lackawanna’s DPW
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: the area is used by the
City of Lackawanna's DPW

Current Use:
The primary use of the site is as a materials staging and an equipment/vehicles storage area for the City Department of Public Works. The Office of Sanitation is housed across Reddon St. to the south. The basement of the northern incinerator is currently being used by the City animal control officer for the temporary caging of animals. The site is immediately surrounded by mixed-commercial-residential space.

Historical Uses:
Operations at the site began in 1927 with the first fire of the municipal incinerator (southern). The southern incinerator operated until about 1950 when the second incinerator (northern) went into operation. Operation of the northern incinerator ceased in 1980. The northern incinerator was constructed and then a mound of fill was placed as a ramp for dump truck traffic to access the third floor of the incinerator.

During the 1950's construction and site regrading, material spilled into the lower floor of the southern incinerator, limiting access to the second floor. Initially the northern access ramp was constructed from a mix of soil and steel foundry slag and was over time widened to the east and west through the addition of street sweepings and discarded refractory brick from the incinerator chimneys during routine repair and maintenance activities. In 2005 the City conducted an environmental investigation of the site with field activities taking place from April 4th to 29th. Results indicate that elevated concentrations of lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present in the incinerator ash in the fill mound. The maximum lead concentrations were 23,000 ppm; however most of the lead concentrations were 1,000 ppm or less.

Lackawanna Incinerator Site: inside building, 1950 incinerator
Lackawanna Incinerator Site: inside building, 1950 incinerator

Site Geology and Hydrogeology:
Elevations of the Site range from approximately 585 feet to 615 feet above mean sea level (AMSL) with the native soil/fill interface consistently around 591-593 AMSL. The local water table exists from 586-589 feet AMSL, 6 to 10 feet below ground surface (excluding the area of the fill mound). Surface water drainage flows radially from the elevated fill ramp to drainage ditches and storm water catch basins which eventually drain northward into Smokes Creek.

The Soil Survey of Erie County, New York, produced and distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service (USDA-SCS), identified soils at the Site as Dumps (Dp) a miscellaneous area filled with rubbish and debris (USDA-SCS, 1986). Based on the 2005 environmental investigation, the fill material, which varies in thickness from 2 to 22 feet, is underlain by lacustrine silt and clay deposits.

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.

Where to Find Information

Project documents are available at the following location to help the public stay informed. For more information about the BCP.

Lackawanna Public Library
560 Ridge Road
Lackawanna, NY 14218

NYS DEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14203
(Call for appointment)

Who to Contact

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

Project Related Questions:
David Gardner
DEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7017

Site-Related Health Questions:
Ian Ushe, Public Health Engineer I
NYS DOH, Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
ESP Corning Tower Room #1787
Albany, NY 12237

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. You may continue also to receive paper copies of site information for a time after you sign up with a county listserv, until the transition to electronic distribution is complete.

Site Location

Aerial map of Lackawanna Incinerator site
Aerial map of Lackawanna Incinerator site