Media Release

US Agency Removes Niagara-Area Hazardous Waste Site from Superfund Priority List, Despite Concerns of Governments in Canada and Bi-National Environmental Citizens Coalition

Nov 07 2013

Toronto: The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (EPA) in late October 2013 removed from the agency’s list of priority Superfund sites, a 60-year old hazardous waste dump that has been a source of contamination to the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, despite strong reservations and concerns expressed in 2012 by the Ontario and Canadian Governments and a bi-national coalition of environmental organizations.

In 2012, the governments and the bi-national coalition were responding to a proposal issued in August of that year by EPA to delete the Hyde Park landfill, in Niagara, New York from the Superfund National Priority List (NPL) of the most seriously contaminated sites in the United States. The Hon. Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of the Environment, wrote in September 2012 to the then EPA Administrator in Washington, D.C., Lisa Jackson, indicating that “Ontario does not support the deletion of the…Hyde Park site from the NPL at this time” citing water quality and biomonitoring and analysis undertaken by the ministry that “identified high concentrations of dioxins and furans in the vicinity of Bloody Run Creek” (a small drainage area that flows from the landfill and that is considered part of the site by EPA). Minister Bradley added that “Due to the continued source of dioxins and furans entering the Niagara River from this site we believe that the proposed deletion of the…Hyde Park site is premature”. Also in September 2012, the Acting Associate Regional Director General for Environment Canada, Diane Johnston, cited the same Ontario data referred to by Minister Bradley in expressing Environment Canada’s concerns regarding deletion of the Hyde Park landfill from the NPL, indicating as well that the data showed exceedances of Canadian guidelines for the protection of aquatic life.

The bi-national citizens’ coalition, represented by CELA, also expressed concerns in 2012 about the wisdom of removing the Hyde Park landfill from the NPL because the wastes are still there, they are still hazardous and, because of the remedial method chosen by EPA (hydraulic containment of contaminated water), they will require robust environmental management essentially forever.

However, despite receiving these submissions, on November 4th of this year EPA issued a media release announcing that it had indeed removed the Hyde Park landfill from the Superfund NPL because the agency had concluded that “the work to reduce contamination of ground water and creek sediment has eliminated the threat to public health and the environment” and that the site “will continue to be monitored by EPA and remains eligible for cleanup work in the event that a change in site conditions should warrant such an action.”

“EPA says that the threat has been eliminated, but the 80,000 tons of hazardous waste have never been removed from the Hyde Park landfill”, said Joseph F. Castrilli CELA counsel. “The site is still a potential environmental time bomb that threatens the Niagara River and Lake Ontario and will require EPA to stand guard forever. Delisting the site serves no one’s interests and may in fact hamper future EPA cleanup efforts”.

Background Information:
CELA Letter on Behalf of GLU to EPA dated September 18, 2012
November 4, 2013 EPA News Release
For copies of the September 2012 letters from Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley and from Environment Canada click on PDF download below.

For more information, please contact:
Joseph F. Castrilli (416) 960-2284 x 218, castrillij@sympatico.ca

Download PDF file