WHEATFIELD, N.Y. -- It's been nearly a month since Department of Environmental Conservation crews conducted soil sampling in backyards along Nash Road on the North Tonawanda/Wheatfield border.
Governor Cuomo directed the agency to do so after residents reached out with worries that toxins from Niagara Sanitation Landfill Superfund site next door were leaching onto their properties.
Wednesday, attorneys for those residents sent the Governor a letter, asking for more testing to be done inside the homes.
"If soil testing was the only thing that we did, we may not have understood the gravity of the situation out here. So, that's why we did groundwater testing and we noticed that there may be intrusion from basements and things like that," said Ashley Liuzza, an Attorney for Smith Stag, L.L.C.
Last fall, the attorneys hired Boston Chemical Data Corporation to test dust and basement sump levels in 21 homes.
They found 18 pesticides that also exist in the landfill.
The data shows indoor contamination was 10 to 100 times higher than outdoor samples... with one home at 5,000 times higher.
"We have what I think is a fairly good statistically significant set of scientific data that's produced by a certified laboratory that shows unusually high levels of organic chlorine pesticides and PCBs that exceeds New York state residential use standards," said Boston Chemical Corp. President Marco Kaltofen.
The DEC and the New York State Department of Health released a joint statement in response to the letter saying:
“After an initial review and without an extensive validation needed of their findings, what their data appears to reveal is residential surface soils are not contaminated. DEC is currently in the process of validating its own residential soil sampling results which will be provided to residents in the coming days. Validating sampling results for a wide variety of contaminants is vital to ensuring absolute accuracy that every resident is entitled to.
While previous groundwater monitoring conducted by DEC did not indicate significant groundwater contamination at the perimeter of the landfill, groundwater elevation data indicates groundwater flow to the north away from Forbes Street and Forbes Terrace. DEC and DOH will take the data into consideration in our evaluation of site conditions. “
The DEC will install monitoring wells to evaluate groundwater this summer.
The testing comes amid a lawsuit by the residents against the Town of Wheatfield and seven companies responsible for dumping Love Canal waste into the 19-acre site.
Several residents will appear next week for a 50-h hearing, or a pre-action hearing.