Sep 23, 2011

EPA Proposes to Add New York's Eighteen Mile Creek to Superfund List

Located in Niagara County, the creek is contaminated with harmful chemicals in some areas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed adding the Eighteen Mile Creek site in Niagara County, N.Y., to the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. Sediment in some areas of the creek is contaminated with harmful chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals and dioxin, which can have serious effects on people’s health and the environment.

“The cleanup the Eighteen Mile Creek site will protect the health of people who live in the area and eat fish from the creek,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Adding the site to the Superfund list will enable EPA to fully investigate the contamination and, over time, clean it up.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), in consultation with EPA, previously investigated four former industrial areas in Lockport, N.Y., known collectively as the Eighteen Mile Creek site. The site covers the Flintkote Plant site, United Paperboard Co., Upson Park and the White Transportation property.

NYSDEC also identified six areas within the Eighteen Mile Creek watershed where cleanup activities should also take place. The earlier investigations and sampling of sediment in and around Eighteen Mile Creek confirmed the presence of PCBs, mercury, lead, copper, pesticides and dioxin throughout most of the creek, but specific sources of the contamination have not been definitively identified. EPA will soon begin an investigation to further determine the nature and extent of the contamination in and around Eighteen Mile Creek.

Eighteen Mile Creek flows north for approximately 15 miles and discharges into Lake Ontario at Olcott, N.Y. The creek has a history of industrial use dating back to the 19th century when it was used as a source of hydroelectric power. Possible sources of contamination include storm water discharges and sewage from municipal pipes, pollution from hazardous waste sites or contaminated properties, and industrial and municipal waste discharges.

The land within the Eighteen Mile Creek watershed consists primarily of agricultural lands, with residential, commercial and industrial areas located around Lockport, Newfane and Olcott Harbor. There are several wetlands along the contaminated portion of the creek, and people fish in the Eighteen Mile Creek Corridor and other portions of the creek. Fisherman’s Park, a public fishing area located within Eighteen Mile Creek just downstream of Burt Dam, is a major fishing destination.