Legislator calls for improvements to Bethlehem cleanup

Jul 6, 2015

Though the DEC is finally planning to clear the contaminated soil at the former waterfront site of Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon believes a better plan should be developed.

The plan, Dixon says, shifts contaminated soil "from one location to another, still on the waterfront, still on that site."

Credit Photo from Legislator Dixon's website

The DEC plan would clear 8,600 cubic yards of contaminated soil that was left behind when Bethlehem Steel closed its Lackawanna plant decades ago.

Dixon acknowledges the cleanup is long overdue, but the plan is flawed. The soil would be moved to a nearby designated site, one that sits a few yards from Smokes Creek and 1,500 feet from the shores of Lake Erie.

"Bethlehem Steel, which of course operated along the shores of Lake Erie until 1983 and then closed up shop, and what they left behind is quite a mess," Dixon said.

"It's an environmental mess. The DEC has said they are going to take care of some of it to do some remediation plans, but it doesn't go far enough."

Dixon doesn't believe the remediation plan lives up to the rising expectations of Western New York residents.

"I mean we have this beautiful piece of property, potentially beautiful piece of property, along the shores of Lake Erie. There's so much going on now in the city of Buffalo in treasuring this area's waterfront again," Dixon said.

"Yet we have this problem here and the only way to fix the problem is full remediation."