Deadline for American Axle clean up comes and goes


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The State Department of Environmental Conservation says it is time to clean up the toxic chemicals at the former American Axle Manufacturing plant on East Delavan Avenue in Buffalo.

PCB’s, toxic chemicals that the government banned nearly 40 years ago, have been turning up in Scajaquada Creek, and environmental officials believe they are coming from the former American Axle/General Motors facility.

Environmentalists have known for 20 years the legacy of the massive, former manufacturing site on Buffalo’s East Side would include toxic chemicals–most notably PCB’s, a known carcinogen.

Soil and water tests have turned up PCB’s in the storm sewers adjacent to the former General Motors facility, which the DEC has linked to the former General Motors site, but the source of those toxic chemicals in Scajaquada Creek has not been scientifically proven.

The American Axle complex now has a private owner, East Delavan Property, LLC, of Buffalo, and the DEC notified the company, in March, they have to come up with a plan to clean up their property– which the owner has stated was more GM-‘s fault.

The DEC has gave East Delavan Property until Monday to come up with a plan to remediate the vast East Side industrial complex, or the state will take matters into its own hands, according to Brian Borncamp of the Clean Air Coalition, which has been working with the plant’s neighbors.

“In early 2000 the DEC obtained photos of the Buffalo sewer system where PCB’s were leaching into the sewer system from the facility.” Bornman said it has also been documented, during heavy rainfall, the PCB’s get into the neighborhood, “These PCB’s overflow from the site into Scajaquada Creek, and then, of course, once they are in Scajaquada Creek, they are able to travel across the city of Buffalo.”

DEC officials said they were meeting Monday with representatives of East Delavan Property, LLC, to determine what course of action will be taken for getting the toxic chemicals out. A DEC spokesman said, if the state ends up taken over the cleanup, they will send the bill to the owner.

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