Weekly Feature



2018-07-11 / Front Page

EPA completes cleanup of Morgan site


Before and after pictures show the impact of cleanup work done by the Environmental Protection Agency at the Morgan Materials facility on Vulcan Street in the Town of Tonawanda. Now complete, the work removed about 9 million pounds of improperly stored hazardous materials. 
Photos courtesy of the EPA Before and after pictures show the impact of cleanup work done by the Environmental Protection Agency at the Morgan Materials facility on Vulcan Street in the Town of Tonawanda. Now complete, the work removed about 9 million pounds of improperly stored hazardous materials. Photos courtesy of the EPA Removing a significant threat to public health and safety, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed its cleanup of improperly stored hazardous materials at the Morgan Materials, Inc., facility in Tonawanda, according to a recent EPA release.

“This array of improperly stored chemicals posed a real danger to the local community,” said Pete Lopez, a regional administrator for the EPA. “In just a year and a half, the EPA worked with 36 different chemical manufacturers and companies who had legally sold materials to Morgan Materials and got them to recycle thousands of drums and containers totaling some nine million pounds of materials.”

Lopez also noted that the cleanup saved approximately $8 million in cleanup costs.

Abby Snyder, a regional director for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, whose department assisted with the cleanup, said the state is committed to making sure that businesses statewide are operating responsibly when it comes to protecting public health and the environment.

“It is our priority to provide a safe and clean environment for residents and to protect our natural resources,” she said. “Working with the EPA, the DEC helped ensure the cleanup at Morgan Materials meets state and federal standards and the site has been fully remediated.”

Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger said cleaning up the Morgan site, located at 380 Vulcan St., “represents a significant improvement for the residences and businesses in the neighborhood, as well as the nearby schools, since this was a disaster waiting to happen.

“We applaud the efforts of the EPA in doing the cleanup in a timely manner and look forward to the repurposing of the site.”

The Morgan site consists of a series of seven connected warehouse buildings on eight acres, located in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood near two schools.

Morgan Materials purchased and was improperly storing both hazardous and nonhazardous materials there.

The EPA’s Superfund cleanup activities began in late November 2016 and conclude this month.

The effort to clean up the Morgan site began in July 2016 when the EPA and the DEC conducted a joint inspection with officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, state Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services, Buffalo Sewer Authority, and the Town of Tonawanda.

The EPA found chemical containers throughout the site, often unlabeled, that were leaking or were stored improperly, and contained flammables, corrosives and oxidizers which could have leaked or caused fires.

Results of EPA’s initial testing showed that the facility was full of hazardous substances, such as volatile organic compounds and heavy metals.

In November 2016, the DEC ordered Morgan Materials to address conditions that presented an imminent danger and the company did not comply.

The EPA then assumed responsibility for security, utilities, and fire control systems, and established air monitoring stations throughout the site.

The agency then contacted companies that had sold chemicals to Morgan Materials, resulting in substantial quantities of materials being recycled. Materials that were not recycled were disposed of at off-site permitted disposal facilities.

For further information on the cleanup, visit www.epa.gov/ny/morgan-materials-site-town-tonawanda-new-york

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