BUFFALO, N.Y. — A tower with the initials of American Axle and Manufacturing still stands ten years after the plant at 1001 E. Delavan Ave. closed.
Before AAM took over, General Motors called the site home for around 70 years.
But it's the marks you can't see that worry Sydney Brown.
"Learning about the toxins that were there, the PCBs, and how they are not water-soluble and not really knowing how the impact is on the community definitely brought a concern,” she said.
Brown owns property nearby and lives there for half the year.
She first learned about site contamination at a meeting of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York.
"There is about 100,000 gallons of oil laced with these PCBs on site in underground pits,” says Brian Borncamp, an organizer with the WNY Clean Air Coalition. “One of the big concerns identified by the state is that this hazardous waste leeches out through the sewer system and during periods of heavy rainfall overflows into Scajaquada Creek."
East Delavan Properties, LLC bought the site in 2008.
A spokesman for the company says there are two pieces to the clean-up puzzle.
One of those is a parcel of about 60 acres that's in the public comment phase of the Brownfield Cleanup Program application process.
That's because of the history with the second part: 2.6 acres in the middle of the property listed by the Department of Environmental Conservation as a class 2 inactive hazardous waste site.
That's explained on the department's website as presenting a "significant threat to the public health or environment — action required."
EDP's spokesman says GM was under a consent order with the DEC to clean this area, until it went bankrupt and was allowed to walk away from that responsibility.
The state sued GM and won millions, which the spokesman says it was supposed to put toward clean-up.
But he says EDP and the state were in talks for years about who was responsible for the project.
That was resolved earlier this year, and the DEC says it's hired a consultant who's completing studies to design a groundwater pump and treat system.
For advocates, questions remain.
"To this day, the Department of Health has not completed a site health assessment, so it's real difficult for folks in the neighborhood to know, 'Hey - is this safe? Hey - what are the potential health impacts from this site?,'" Borncamp said.
The DEC says a health assessment will be done if the site is accepted into the Brownfield program.