Cuomo: Expand study of Wheatfield landfill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state environmental regulators to move “quickly and thoroughly”on an investigation of a toxic landfill with a Love Canal legacy in the Town of Wheatfield.

Cuomo wants the Department of Environmental Conservation to collect soil and groundwater samples from residential yards in the neighborhoods closest to the landfill “to determine whether offsite migration of contaminants has occurred.”

The DEC, so far, has maintained that chemicals have been confined to the landfill.

Current and former neighbors of the landfill, and their attorneys, have contended in a lawsuit that their soil tests show that landfill chemicals already have contaminated their properties.

“We think that this testing should have happened years ago,” said Mike Stag, one of the attorneys representing the residents.

“The agencies rushed to judgment and assumed there were no dangerous chemicals getting into the neighborhood. We are confident it will confirm our own testing showing PCBs, dioxins and other Love Canal chemicals on their properties.”

A group of neighbors this month launched a petition to urge Cuomo to act, but the petitioners have asked to be relocated. Some residents on Forbes Street and Forbes Terrace have erected signs on their front yards warning of the toxic landfill.

State officials said sampling will begin within the next month or as soon as the DEC is granted access to test properties off Forbes Street and Forbes Terrace.

The landfill held Love Canal waste from 1968 until 2015, when the state had it removed by Occidental Chemical Corporation. That same year, the DEC deemed the landfill a state Superfund after discovering more contamination.

In response to Investigative Post’s story in February 2015, the town announced plans to construct a fence around the landfill to keep people off the property. That work is expected to start soon.