318 Urban Street
Fact Sheet September 2012
Urban Street Update: DEC Certifies Cleanup Requirements Achieved at State Superfund (SSF) Site
Before remediation: Debris and soil piles on west end of building
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has determined the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to 318 Urban Street ("site") located at 318 Urban Street, in Buffalo, Erie County under New York's SSF have been or will be met. Please see the Site Location for the map.
DEC has approved the Final Engineering Report (FER) and reclassified the site. A copy of the FER is available to the public at the location identified below under Where to Find Information.
The cleanup activities were performed by General Electric Co./GE International, Inc. with oversight provided by DEC.
By the Numbers:
2.5 acres - area of site
After remediation: Panoramic photo of west end of
Urban Street site following grass seeding
Cleaned Facility Numbers:
130 cubic yards - removal of debris
345 linear ft - repaired sewer lines
440 cubic yards - soil used for fill
555 cubic yards - of excavated soil for disposal
1,700 cubic yards - disposal from main building
22,250 sq ft - area of restored roof (main building)
26,000 sq ft - area of pressure treated walls
31,000 sq ft - asphalt pavement
Institutional and Engineering Controls
Institutional controls and engineering controls generally are designed to reduce or eliminate exposure to any remaining or residual contamination. An institutional control is a non-physical restriction on use of the site, such as a deed restriction, when contamination that remains after the cleanup makes the site suitable for some, but not all uses. An engineering control is a physical barrier or method to manage contamination such as a cap or vapor barrier.
The following institutional controls have been put in place on the site:
- Ground Water Use Restriction
- Site Management Plan
- Soil Management Plan
- Institutional Control/Engineering Control Plan
- Deed Notice
- Landuse Restriction
- Local Groundwater Restriction
The following engineering controls have been put in place on the site:
- Cover System
- Fencing/Access Control
During remediation: Excavation along fence line,
using water for dust control
1921 - 1968
GE owned and operated as electrical equipment service and repair shop
Pyramid Steel Corporation/Sweeney Steel Service purchased site and used as machine shop and warehouse for steel fabrication and supply
1992 - 1999
IRM and remedial work
Sewer monitoring completed
Environmental Notice filed
September: FER approved
DEC reclassified the site from a Class 2 to a Class 4 site based on review and approval of a FER. The FER includes:
- A description of the cleanup activities completed;
- Certification that cleanup requirements have been or will be achieved for the site;
- A description of any institutional/engineering controls to be used; and
- A certification that a site management plan for any engineering controls used at the site has been approved by DEC.
During remediation: Removing debris and floor waste inside building
The former General Electric (GE) Service Center is located at 318 Urban Street, in Buffalo, Erie County. The site is located in a mixed residential/industrial section of the City of Buffalo's east side. The site is bounded by residential homes along French Street to the north, Urban Street to the south, apartments and a playground to the east, and railroad tracks/corridor border to the west. A public school is located diagonally across Urban Street to the southeast.
The site is former industrial property approximately 2.5 acres in size and contains a brick/block high bay industrial use building. Asphalt pavement for access, parking and storage borders the northern, eastern and western sides of the building. All other areas are covered with turf grass. The entire parcel is secured with a chain link fence and driveway gate. The topographic land features are relatively flat, typical of the local area. The western side of the site is bounded by an elevated grade developed for the rail corridor. The site and local area is serviced with public water and sanitary sewer utilities.
The site is zoned an M1-Light Industrial district that extends partially to the north, south and to the west. An R1-residential district is adjacent to the east and partially to the north.
GE owned and operated the site from 1921 to 1968. GE used the building as a service shop to repair electrical equipment and transformers and to machine parts. A transformer pit was used for operations including draining oil from transformers.
Pyramid Steel Corporation (a.k.a. Sweeney Steel Service, Corp.) purchased the site in 1985 and used the building as a machine shop and warehouse for steel fabrication and supply. Pyramid vacated the property in the 2000s where it has sat vacant for a number of years. Several industrial tenants have used the building and site intermittently in the ensuing years.
After remediation: Panoramic photo of building interior after
debris removed, new floor and interior painting
Site Geology and Hydrogeology:
The surface soils consist primarily of poorly drained silts and clays. Based on the USGS topographic map, there are no surface water bodies within a one-mile radius of the site. The nearest surface water body shown on the map is Scajaquada Creek, which is one and one-half miles northwest of the site. The creek flows northwest, away from the site, and ultimately discharges into the Niagara River. However, Scajaquada Creek is reportedly contained within a tunnel approximately 2,000 feet north of the site.
Drinking water is supplied to the surrounding neighborhood by the City of Buffalo, which draws surface water from Lake Erie. There are no known drinking water wells near the site.
Storm water runoff enters on-site catch basins and is directed through storm drains to a publicly owned combined storm and sanitary sewer on French Street. During normal flow conditions, the flow is discharged to the publicly-owned treatment works (POTW) on Squaw Island. During heavy storms, the combined sewer overflow discharges directly to Scajaquada Creek.
Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available on DEC's website.
State Superfund Program
New York's 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. GE, the responsible party for this site, bore all costs for the investigation and remediation of the site.
Where to Find Information
Public interest in this project is valued and appreciated. Project documents are available at the following location to help the public stay informed. For more information about the SSF, visit DEC's website.
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:
Eugene Melnyk, P.E.
NYS DEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203-2915
Site-Related Health Questions:
NYS DOH, Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Empire State Plaza, 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.
Aerial view of Urban Street site