EPA Successfully Wraps Up Activities at Tonawanda Coke Facility

News Releases from Region 02

03/27/2020

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Buffalo, N.Y. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has successfully completed response work at the Tonawanda Coke Corporation (TCC) property in the Town of Tonawanda. For nearly 14 months, EPA performed response activities at TCC to secure the coke plant, ensure the continued safety of facility systems, and perform necessary removal activities in order to address releases and potential releases of hazardous substances to the environment.

EPA has handed the site back to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for management of future work at the site under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program and the State Superfund program.

"The prospects for the Tonawanda Coke site to be utilized in a productive and beneficial manner are outstanding," EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez stated. "EPA is pleased to announce that oversight of the Tonawanda Coke Corporation site is ready to be handed back to the state. Working in close partnership with the community, town and NYSDEC, EPA led a comprehensive and complex effort to oversee the safe shutdown of operations."

photo of the facility looking rather smokeyPhoto: Courtesy of EPA. The coke oven battery consisting of 60 vertical coke ovens at the former Tonawanda Coke Corporation Site adjacent to the Coal Charging Building. The ovens were deactivated in October 2018.

EPA began a cleanup at the TCC Site in October 2018 when TCC commenced the shutdown of its coke manufacturing facility on River Road. On October 12, 2018, NYSDEC requested that EPA perform response work at the TCC Site to protect the surrounding community.

As lead agency for the assessment and post-shutdown operations, EPA accomplished the following at the former manufacturing plant:

  • Safely conducted shutdown of operations involving 60 coke ovens which were emptied and purged of flammable gases, marking the end of coke production.
  • Conducted air sampling, monitoring and surveillance in the community around the plant until all flammable gases were purged from the process systems.
  • Completed treatment and disposal of over a million gallons of wastewater contaminated with weak ammonia liquor.
  • Oversaw the removal of approximately 42,000 tons of coal and 18,500 tons of coke.
  • Stabilized drums, tanks, cylinders, vessels and other containers.
  • Continued the operation of the boiler plant and treatment systems.

EPA will continue to provide oversight of work being performed by Honeywell International, Inc. under an EPA order at a portion of the TCC facility known as "Site 108." The work under this order is expected to be completed by Honeywell during the Summer of 2020. To date, the following cleanup actions have been completed at Site 108:

  • Successfully removed 1,131 tons of coal tar from three bulk storage tanks and 1,767 tons of coal tar-contaminated soil in secondary containment areas and shipped to EPA-approved treatment/disposal facilities.
  • Shipped 2,397 tons of contaminated soil generated from previous cleanup actions to an EPA-approved disposal facility as well as 95-tons of decontaminated steel scrap from demolished tanks to an EPA-approved recycling facility.
  • Completed treatment of 331,830 gallons of contaminated water and discharged to the publicly owned treatment works.
  • As part of its work, EPA developed an emergency and hazardous waste contingency plan, and conducted outreach regarding site conditions, operations and emergency response to local responders, the HAZMAT community and the Town of Tonawanda;

The EPA will continue to keep the Town of Tonawanda and local and state partners informed of the Agency's activities and ongoing efforts to protect public health and the environment.

EPA's web site for this facility is https://www.epa.gov/ny/tonawanda-coke-corporation-tcc-site.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at https://twitter.com/eparegion2.

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