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Contaminated soil at Niagara Falls State Park safely removed

Omar Fetouh

The toxic material that was found in soil at Niagara Falls State Park during construction of the Welcome Plaza project has been removed according to park officials.

The materials known as slag and a petroleum substance were originally found in a fenced-off construction area.

New York State Public Parks Spokesperson Randy Simons said this isn’t the first time they uncovered toxic waste at the park.

“There was a project at the park police station when we moved it,” said Simons. “I think a small slab around the cave of the winds project. So we were very familiar when we identified and discovered this material.”

Simons said since they were familiar with the material they came across they knew exactly what they needed to do.

“This site, like the other sites where this was found at Niagara Falls State Parks, is a much healthier and cleaner site now that we’ve gone through and removed the compromised material,” he said.

In all, an estimated 1,500 tons will be taken to a landfill in Ohio over the next few days. The estimated cost of the clean-up and removal process is $725,000.

“You can’t just take this to any landfill. There’s only certain properties across the country really that can take and properly dispose of the materials. The trucking company will come in appropriately, contain it there, ship it off to the facility, and they take it from there,” he said.

Simons says the toxic waste was always inaccessible behind a fence and wasn’t a threat to public safety.

“This was a type of material, even if it was to come in contact with someone,” said Simons, “it’s not anything that is immediately dangerous. It’s more long term exposure to this material that were discovered”    

The Welcome Plaza Project is still set for completion next summer.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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