Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul says the federal Environmental Protection Agency will remove drums of toxic waste from a Superfund site in Le Roy by the end of this week.
The waste will be disposed of at a landfill in Belleville, Michigan. There has been speculation in Le Roy that the waste may be responsible for an outbreak of a tic-like illness among some high school students. But most medical experts have dismissed that as the source.
The barrels were left from the Lehigh Railroad Derailment Superfund site in LeRoy.
The process is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Congresswoman Hochul spoke with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Judith Enck, along with Senators Charles E. Schumer Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I’m proud to announce that these barrels will be leaving Le Roy beginning today; a positive step in the process of cleaning up this Superfund site,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “While these developments are long overdue, now we must continue our work to remediate the site and ensure there is no contamination threatening the residents of Le Roy.”
“Removing these barrels is a critical step forward to ensuring that we clean up this site and put public health and safety first,” said Senator Schumer. “The people who live, work, and visit LeRoy deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the area is free from contaminants, and removing these barrels is an important part of that process.”
“I am pleased the EPA is removing the barrels from this Superfund site,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. “The EPA must now continue testing and monitoring all areas around the site to assure residents there has been no further contamination. Everyone in LeRoy and Genesee County must know that their community is a safe place to live, visit, work, and raise a family.”
Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,I-Lewiston) and Senator George Maziarz (R,C,I-Newfane) welcomed the news that EPA will be transferring the 235 drums from the Le Roy Superfund site to a hazardous waste facility in Michigan.
The materials had previously been destined for Lewiston before Maziarz and Ceretto intervened.
“I’m pleased that the EPA listened to our concerns and has decided to move this waste to a more suitable facility outside New York,” said Ceretto. “The EPA’s decision closes the door on these materials coming to the Lewiston-Porter area, a fact that should help local parents rest easier.”
“I welcome this decision,” said Maziarz. “From the beginning, I have said that should the EPA find it necessary to remove these barrels for the public health and safety of the LeRoy community, any transfer to Lewiston would simply renew those concerns here in our own community. It wasn’t a matter of where the waste was going; it was where it wasn’t going, and it was never coming here, if I had anything to say about it. That door is closed.”