DEC to start testing at homes near former Wheatfield landfill in coming weeks

TOWN OF WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB)- People living in homes near the former Niagara Sanitation Landfill are encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s decision to do more extensive testing around the site.

Mary di Pota and her husband raised two sons in a home next to the landfill. They have lived on Forbes St. for 43 years.

“This is my home, this is where I raised my family and we cannot live here anymore,” said di Pota. “It breaks my heart because our house could kill us.”

She suffers from thyroid problems and a number of other health issues.

“I have atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter,” she said. “My balance is way off.”

Di Pota shakes so bad many days she needs someone or something to hold onto in order to walk.

Her 47-year-old son A.J. was just diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

She says toxic waste seeped from the landfill behind her property and contaminated her home.

“Our house is so toxic,” she said. “There are so many chemicals in our house that it is uninhabitable.”

According to di Pota, they were kept in the dark about the waste being stored at the landfill.

The di Pota’s are part of a lawsuit against the Town of Wheatfield, Niagara Sanitation Company and a number of manufacturing companies which disposed of waste at the site.

At least 60 other residents are listed in the complaint.

“Nothing was ever said to us like ‘hey you shouldn’t hang out back there, it’s full of toxic waste’,” said A.J. di Pota, Mary’s son.

The DEC determined in 2014 there was no off site contamination.

In March, the DEC started taking soil and water samples from around the surface of the landfill, to see if more remediation is needed.

The DEC will soon begin testing the landfill by using test pits to see how extensive soil contamination is and if there is still any waste. It will also use groundwater monitoring wells to confirm nothing has migrated away from the landfill.

Governor Cuomo announced Monday the testing will expand.

The DEC told News 4 it will take about 29 soil samples from nearby properties to make sure there has been no contamination.

“They’ve had five years of testing and so far everything has shown there has been no migration off site,” said Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe. “I don’t know there’s proof enough to state that.”

He hopes these new tests will provide that proof.

“It would be nice to know it has not migrated and the DEC are the experts we have to rely on,” said Cliffe.

Residents like the di Pota’s hope the Governor will consider more extensive testing.

“Don’t just test the ground, test the plants, test the people because the people are the ones who have absorbed this stuff over the years,” said A.J. di Pota.

The DEC told News 4 soil testing at homes will start within the month and they hope to finish by the end of this summer. The DEC will put together a report in the fall on all of the results and steps for further remediation.

Residents should expect to get a letter from the DEC this week.

If you have information that can help the DEC as it begins this next step of testing, call Project Manager Glenn May in the Division of Environmental Remediation at716-851-7220.

 

 

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