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DEC reviewing contamination at former American Axle site

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Albany is working on a plan to clean up the former American Axle plant on East Delavan. Though there is still activity in the remaining buildings, one section of the vast complex has already been cleaned up and covered over. 

The public turned out Tuesday night to hear how the rest of the site will be handled.

There is a brownfields section of the property, surrounding a federal superfund five acres. The ground is badly contaminated with industrial oil mixed with PCBs.

"We have tried to calm some of the excitement relative to exposure from off-site residents," said State Regional Remediation Engineer Chad Staniszewski.

"So, we will reiterate that again that there is no exposure concern to off-site residents, from either the superfund site or the brownfield cleanup program site. So, that's really what we want to get across."

Albany has spent a million dollars drilling wells along a giant Buffalo Sewer Authority pipe and is sucking up contaminated ground water and putting it through a treatment plant. When the sewer line is low, the collected wastewater is put into the sewer to go to the treatment plant on Bird Island. There is still cleanup planning underway.

Among those attending the meeting in the Delavan Grider Community Center was Charles Davis, who lives near the plant site.

"I'm here for the information about the cleanup. My dad used to work at the Chevy plant years ago," Davis said. "So, now, I'm talking 30 years later. I want to see what they are going to do, prior to cleanup."

Albany and Washington have cleaned up one part of the site and are looking at millions of dollars to clean a large part of the old auto plant.