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Schumer demands action on Tonawanda Landfill radioactive waste

Photo by Mark Scott

US Senator Charles Schumer is calling on federal officials to expedite a long-awaited report on the potential threat posed by radioactive waste underneath the Tonawanda Landfill off Military Road.

The waste was generated during the Manhattan Project and then buried for decades.  Nearby residents are concerned that as the soil erodes, the dangerous waste could pose a health threat. 

At a news conference outside one of the nearby homes, Schumer said people are worried.

"Residents in Tonawanda don't need a scientist to tell them that, when the periodic table of elements is essentially living in their backyard, it's not a good thing,"  Schumer said.

Resident Russell Hoffmann said he has family members and friends who have had health problems.

"My mother was a cancer survivor who has since passed.  I have friends who lost their mothers to brain cancer.  We need answers," said Hoffmann.  "Is this (waste) causing this?  It needs to be addressed.  It's way past time."

The US Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to develop a set of options for site remediation by the end of 2014.  That did not happen. 

Schumer called on the Army Corps to speed up the process.  He also promised to secure more federal funding to clean up this and other radioactive sites.