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HARBORcenter - Webster Block

Site Number C915270

Fact Sheet December 2012

HARBORcenter Update: Work Plan Available for Public Comment Draft Remedial Investigation/Interim Remedial Measures

Artist rendering of HARBORcenter
Artist rendering of HARBORcenter

The public is invited to comment on a draft work plan being reviewed by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to investigate the Webster Block ("site") located at 75 Main Street, Buffalo, Erie County. Please see the map for the site location. Documents related to the cleanup of this site can be found at the location identified below under Where to Find Information.

Draft Investigation Work Plan

The draft work plans, called a "Remedial Investigation (RI) Work Plan," and an "Interim Remedial Measures (IRM) Work Plan" were submitted to DEC under New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). The investigation will be performed by HARBORcenter Development, LLC ("applicant") with oversight by DEC. The investigation will assess conditions on-site.

Digital Files of the Work Plan:

How to Comment

DEC is accepting written comments about the draft investigation/remedial work plans for 30 days, from December 31, 2012 through January 29, 2013. The proposed plan is available for review at the location identified below under Where to Find Information. Please submit comments to the project manager listed under Project Related Questions in the Who to Contact area below.

Site Timeline

1820s-1980
Site developed and used for warehousing and manufacturing
1980 - present
Used as a parking lot

By the Numbers

Brownfield Numbers
2.08 acres - size of site
30 days - length of comment period

Highlights of the Proposed Site Investigation

The site 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.

Draft IRM Work Plan

An IRM is a cleanup activity that may be performed when a source of contamination or exposure pathway (the way in which a person may contact contamination) can be effectively addressed without extensive investigation and evaluation.

The draft IRM work plan identifies cleanup activities that include:

  1. Installing sheet piles around the contaminated area;
  2. Excavation and off-site Disposal of Contaminated Soils;
  3. Recovery, treatment and discharge of contaminated groundwater to BSA system under a permit.

Next Steps

DEC will consider public comments, revise the plan as necessary, and approve the work plan. The approved work plan will be made available to the public (see Where to Find Information below). After the work plan is approved, the activities detailed in the work plan will be implemented.

When the investigation/interim remedial measure is completed, a report will be prepared and submitted to the DEC that summarizes the results. DEC will review the report, make any necessary revisions and, if appropriate, approve the report.

After the investigation and interim remedial measures, an "Alternative Analysis (AA) Report" will be developed and a Decision Document will be proposed. The AA Report will include an evaluation of the interim remedial measure completed and an evaluation of a proposed final site remedy, or recommend a "no action" or "no further action" alternative. The goal of the AA Report and its recommended cleanup plan is to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. DEC will present the proposed cleanup plan to the public for its review and comment during a 45-day comment period. DEC will keep the public informed throughout the investigation and cleanup of the site. The AA Report is expected in late 2013.

Background

Location:
This proposed BCP site is located at 75 Main Street in the City of Buffalo, Erie County, is approximately 2.08 acres in size and is also known as the "Webster Block". The property is bounded on the west by Main Street; on the east by Washington Street; on the north by Scott Street and on the south by Perry Street.

Site Features:
The main feature of this site is the asphalt surface parking lot that is adjacent to First Niagara Center and HSBC Center office building and NFTA Metro Rail line.

Current Zoning/Use:
The site is currently used for commercial purposes and has been utilized as a parking lot since the 1980's.

The intended use of this site is for the construction of a multi-story, multi-use facility that will include multiple floors of above ground parking, two ice rinks, retail space, a restaurant and a hotel. The development will comprise the entire 2.08 acres of the site.

Historical Use:
Given its proximity to the Erie Canal and Buffalo Harbor, the site was within an area of dense commercial and industrial development. The site was occupied with multiple commercial, manufacturing and industrial uses over its history. These uses included oil storage, oil refining, machine shop and brass foundry, and various supply companies.

Site Geology and Hydrogeology:
Site investigations have revealed overburden soils consist of primarily fill material at the ground surface which varies in thickness from 8 to 10 feet with some areas deeper than 15 feet. Soil beneath consists of alternating layers of silty clay, fine to sandy silt and gravel and a layer of peat. Bedrock is approximately 50 feet below grade.

Fill material is heterogeneous and consists of a mixture of sand, silt, clay, ash/cinders, organic matter and demolition debris. Layers of ash/cinders have been observed to be 3 to 4 feet thick with scattered deposits of coal, slag, coal tar and petroleum-impacted soil.

Surface elevations along the inner-harbor are approximately 580 feet. It is near the Buffalo River at its discharge point to Lake Erie and this area is in a low-lying lake plain adjacent to Lake Erie.

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

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 may 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. For more information about the BCP, visit DEC's website.

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.

Buffalo & Erie Public Library
ATTN: Reference Librarian
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203-1887
Phone: 716-858-8900

Who to Contact

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

Project Related Questions:
David Locey
NYS DEC, DER
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203-2915
716-851-7220
dplocey@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Site-Related Health Questions:
Matthew Forcucci
NYS DOH
584 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14202-1295
716-847-4501
beei@health.state.ny.us

Redevelopment Related Questions:
Clifford Benson
HARBORcenter Development, LLC
1 Seymour Knox III Plaza
Buffalo, NY 14203
716-855-4139
cbenson@sabres.com

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.

*Receive Site Fact Sheets by Email

Have site information such as this fact sheet sent right to your email inbox. DEC invites you to sign up with one or more contaminated sites county email listservs available. It's quick, it's free, and it will help keep you better informed.

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 view of HARBORcenter site
Aerial view of HARBORcenter site