Niagara County Health Department

The Community LOOW Project

Final Community LOOW Project Report 

Niagara County has done its part in the victories of World War II and the Cold War.  However, a legacy of environmental concern and mistrust in government still remains for the citizens of Niagara County.  The former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW) in the Towns of Porter and Lewiston is the focus of an initiative from the Niagara County Health Department to assist in developing a comprehensive understanding of the LOOW site. 

The two-year project initiated in 2005 was created to address a complex history of LOOW contamination with equally complicated government supervision.  The Niagara County Health Dept. developed this initiative in collaboration with members of the community, elected officials, agencies, and the Univ. of Buffalo to address public concerns about the LOOW site.  Funding has been received totaling $200,000 from a wide range of sources.

“With work nearing completion on the first phase of the historic Community LOOW Project, I am confident that the community will not only have a better understanding of the LOOW property, its history and the magnitude and diversity of the previous and current work accomplished, but will be able to have direct input in analyzing the data and determining the future courses of action that will affect the public’s health. Our Geographical Information System will provide the tools to assist in starting this task. Future environmental health and disease tracking options will let us continue our task of preventing, protecting and promoting public health.

We need to thank the members of the public for their efforts at bringing these issues to the forefront. We also wish to thank our many elected leaders who worked at providing the funds to make this project possible, as well as the Community Foundation For Greater Buffalo for their financial support of the project.

The Community LOOW Project is a perfect example of the Niagara County Department of Health working with our community partners to protect the public’s health.

PUBLIC HEALTH: PREVENT. PROMOTE. PROTECT.”

-Daniel J. Stapleton, Public Health Director

“A consolidation of data is the first step to overcoming jurisdictional fragmentation at the LOOW site. This is the first time in decades that one project has attempted to consolidate relevant data from the entire LOOW site for all chemical and radiological investigations in combination with geological evaluations.”

-Paulette Kline, former Public Health Director

WHAT IS THE LOOW SITE?

The Lake Ontario Ordnance Works or “LOOW” site originated as 7,500 acres purchased by the federal government in 1942 to support WWII and subsequent Defense operations. 

Today, roughly 400 residences, schools, a federal radioactive storage site, commercial landfills, and Defense properties are situated within the former LOOW boundary. 

Since 1944, numerous investigations, cleanups, and monitoring by various agency programs have been conducted on portions of the LOOW.

GOAL

Ensure the entire LOOW site is investigated and remediated in a comprehensive manner to a condition and level of activity where it presents no material risk to residents of Western New York, Canada, or the Great Lakes.

LOOW Military

Industrial Highlights

1942-1943 TNT Manufacturing Plant
1944-1946 Northeast Chemical Warfare Depot
1944-Present NFSS Radioactive waste storage (Manhattan Project, Atomic Energy Comm., Dept of Energy)
1950-1992 U.S. Air Force Plant 38
1957-1959 U.S. Air Force Plant 68
1956-1960 Navy Interim Pilot Production Plant
1953-1971 Boron-10 Production Plant
1954-1966 NIKE Missile Base NF-03 and NF-05
1958-1973 Ransomville Test Annex-U.S. Air Force
1966-Present Youngstown Test Annex-U.S. Air Force
1979-Present Army National Guard Training Site
1972-Present Hazardous waste treatment/disposal (Chemtrol, SCA, CWM Chemical Services)
1983-Present Solid waste disposal (Modern Corporation)

SOLUTIONS

In response to community concerns, the Niagara County Health Dept. launched The Community LOOW Project to assess the LOOW in a way that is “blind” to
jurisdictional limitations of agency programs.  This site-wide approach has never been undertaken at the LOOW. 

Independent experts are being engaged to review restoration work to date throughout the LOOW site.  A GIS data base will be constructed as an analytical tool and will also promote information sharing between various regulatory agencies.

IMPACT

  • Improve overall risk management at the LOOW site and effectiveness of  hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on LOOW investigation and remediation
  • Reduce community concern regarding many unexplained cancers exceeding NYS rates and create better image of WNY as a safe place to live and work
  • Protect the most scenic areas of Niagara County for tourism growth
  • Protect farmland near the LOOW (Niagara farming is $40 million/yr; #1 production of New York pears, peaches, plums, sweet cherries)
  • Increase trust in the restoration process; ensure community concerns are addressed

PROJECT OVERVIEW

GIS Data Base - Identify and compile relevant chemical and radiological contamination history and investigations and geological data, etc. of the LOOW Site, for consolidation into a GIS database that will allow for interactive mapping capability by the agencies and public.

Gap Analysis - Independent scientists to review investigations and use the GIS data base to identify potential gaps or duplications in LOOW investigations. 

Recommendations - Collaboratively identify and promote effective long-term solutions for management of LOOW Site risk.

The Community LOOW Project differs from or complements other initiatives:

  • RAB (LOOW Restoration Advisory Board)
  • Lew-Port School Soil Study
  • NCHD Well Testing Program
  • Lewiston Museum Archives Project
  • CWM Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
  • NYS Dept. of Health Cancer Incidence study of Lewiston and Porter. 

Contact - If you have questions or information to contribute, please contact our Project coordinator, Scott King at (716) 913-8950.  

Funding

The Community LOOW Project gratefully acknowledges the generous financial contributions from the following: 

 Funding Source  Amount
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo  $30,000
WNY State Assembly & Senate Delegation  $25,000
Univ. at Buffalo Environment & Society Institute  $15,000
Sen. George Maziarz  $10,000
Town of Porter  $8,000
Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte  $5,000
Niagara County  $4,000
Town of Lewiston  $4,000
Congresswoman Slaughter  $100,000

Meetings and News

The Community LOOW Project hosted its first public meeting on November 21, 2005 and will report to the public every 6 months or so as the project proceeds.  Information from these meetings and news releases will be posted on this webpage.

On September 15, 2006 we were informed that our application for the federal grant arranged by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was approved by the Office of Economic Adjustment!!  "This is a major boost to our project and a significant event for the Niagara County Department of Health.  We are grateful to Congresswoman Slaughter for her efforts in this regard, and also to our state, local and community foundation funders for their support."

Public Meetings

Meeting 1 was held at the Lewiston Senior Center, 4361 Lower River Road, Lewiston, NY on Monday November 21st 2005 at 6:30 p.m. County legislator Clyde Burmaster welcomed the attendees and Paulette Kline and Scott King gave a presentation and answered questions. 

11/21/2005 Presentation 

Meeting 2 was also held at the Lewiston Senior Centeron Monday September 25 2006 at 7 pm. Paulette Kline welcomed the attendees and Scott King gave a PowerPoint presentation that described the project and what we have been working on.  Following questions and a break, Scott King demonstrated the Geographic Information System software (ArcMap), to give the attendees a better understanding of the different types of information, how they can be layered, and some of the tools available to examine chemical data. 

09/25/2006 Meeting Notice  | 9/25/2006 Presentation  

Read the February 2007 Update 

Dan Stapleton welcomed the attendees and Scott King presented an overview and update of recent progress.  Dr. Marvin Resnikoff presented some preliminary work concerning his review of radioactivity on portions of the LOOW and Central Drainage Ditch.  Derek Amerlinck and Lisa McFail of Ecology and Environment, Inc. gave a presentation concerning the status, function and content of the LOOW Geographic Information System.  Copies of the presentation are located below for download.

06/13/2007 Meeting Notice 

Agenda 

Presentation By Scott King 

Presentation By Derek Amerlinck & Lisa McFail & Scott King 

Presentation by R.Harris & M.ResniKoff 

Public Meeting No. 4 was held at Niagara University on Wednesday January 30, 2008. Dan Stapleton welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of the project. Scott King presented on the recent technical progress of the project. Greg Coniglio of Ecology and Environment, Inc. gave a presentation on the status, function and content of the LOOW Geographic Information System. Click below to view the agenda and presentation(s). 

01/30/2008 Meeting Notice 

Agenda 

Presentation By Scott King 

Presentation by Greg Coniglio & Lisa McFail & Scott King 

Press Releases and News Items

Maps- LOOW Site Map 

Links:


 

 

 



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