DEC takes action against Ellicott Creek polluter

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Crushed Stone has been cited by the State Department of Environmental Conservation for an “unlawful  discharge.”

DEC investigators found that “impaired water” had been pumped from the bottom of its limestone quarry into Ellicott Creek.

Portions of the creek through Lancaster had turned a milky white.  It soon became evident to people familiar with the creek  that pollution was taking a toll on the environment.

On October 6th, News 4 talked with Robert Nesbitt, a concerned citizen who said he would no longer fish at the creek.  “The fact that the wildlife left tells us all we need to know,” he said.

Buffalo Crushed Stone’s Vice President Gary Ryckman said he couldn’t comment on the violation because he hadn’t heard back from the parent company, New Enterprise Stone and Lime out of Pennsylvania.Problem

One worker told News 4 the company was in financial straits and that Buffalo Crushed Stone Executive Vice President Joe Laraiso was let go on Friday.
In its Notice of Violation the DEC traced the problem to a pump used by Buffalo Crushed Stone for de-watering the quarry.

The discharge occurred during a mining operation involving the bottom 9 foot layer of limestone.

Corrective action includes stopping the use of the pump, inspecting discharge water daily, and improving procedures.

There has already been a noticeable difference according to those who live near the creek.

Eddie Szafranski, whose pond is fed by Ellicott Creek, says the ducks have returned.  He is grateful to the DEC for taking action.

“It’s going to be helping out the people along here,” he said. “You have everything going the right way again,”Solution

Jean Elsinghorst, who tells News 4 she got the DEC involved, said she is happy with the results.

“After the press coverage the creek cleared up,” she said. “I thought, ‘gee whiz-did I image that?’ “No I didn’t, “because I could see the scum on the grass and on the rocks.”

Mrs. Elsinghorst says there aren’t as many fish in her portion of the creek as there were before.  “But the ducks are back and the beavers are back,” she said, “but I think the Great Blue Heron has taken off like a snow bird and gone South.”

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper also credited others who live along the creek and serve as monitors for the clean water organization.  Riverkeeper said “This demonstrates the important role members of our community have in protection and monitoring our water resources.”

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