Town to fence landfill with Love Canal legacy

The Town of Wheatfield has finally picked a contractor to build a fence around a dangerous landfill that once held Love Canal waste and has long been used by residents for recreation.

The process took over year and a half since town officials pledged to fence in the landfill.  New York State Fence will construct the fence for $106,800. Senator Robert Ortt secured the town $75,000 to offset some of the cost, in response to a Feb. 10, 2016, Investigative Post story.

“It’s been a long haul,” Wheatfield Supervisor Robert Cliffe told the Niagara Gazette after the vote at Monday night’s town board meeting. “But it will be nice to get this done.”

The closed landfill off Nash Road sits between the Town of Wheatfield and City of North Tonawanda. It held Love Canal waste until the state Department of Environmental Conservation had the waste removed in 2015.  After insisting for 25 years that the landfill posed no threat, state officials changed their minds in December  2015, and declared it a Superfund site.

The landfill is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed by current and former residents, who claim contaminants migrated onto their properties and inside their homes, making some of them sick. The DEC in July released soil testing results that they said showed the landfill was not impacting residential soils. But attorneys disputed the testing and said that the real danger is the contamination they found inside homes.

Work to build the fence is expected to begin in September.