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EPA says remediation of Eighteen Mile Creek properties could begin next spring

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The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with plans to clean up several properties along Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, properties found to have lead contamination within the soil.

EPA officials held a public hearing Thursday night in Lockport to detail their proposed $6.7 million cleanup plan for the identified properties.

"We'll go back to those 26 properties, probably in the spring if next year, do a few more tests to confirm whether exactly it's the front yard, the side yard or the entire yard that we're going to be excavating the soil from," said EPA spokesman Michael Basile. "And then hopefully some time late spring or early summer of 2019, we'll begin the excavation work around those properties."

The properties identified as contaminated are found along Chapel, Frost, Mill, North Adams and Porter Streets. In cases where the excavations impede access to the house, residents will be provided alternative accommodations in a local hotel at no expense to them.

Basile addressed concerns about the pace of the project, suggesting it's a quick schedule compared to other cleanups. The Eighteen Mile Creek site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List in March 2012 and testing was already conducted to identify the contamination and where to find it.

"That was in 2017. 2018 we came back to them with a proposed plan," Basile said. "In 2019 we're going to remediate those properties. It's lightning speed. I understand sometimes people aren't patient enough. They have to be a little more patient with us. We have a process and we're going to continue our process into the future."

Basile also acknowedged the calls for a comprehensive health study but told WBFO that must be initiated by the Niagara County Health Department or United States Public Health Service.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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