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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Buffalo Color Corporation in Buffalo, New York

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status                         

A corrective measures study has been completed by the facility and a final remedy has been selected. Currently, New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) is negotiating with the facility and the previous owner (Allied) to secure funding of the proposed remedy. The remedy, which has not been implemented due to financial constraints at the facility, includes:

  • Construction and operation of a groundwater migration control system (MCS). This system will be constructed in the area above the bedrock in Plant Area A, and will be located between the site and the Buffalo River. The system will be designed to prevent the migration of contaminated groundwater to the river and, in the long term, lead to the restoration of groundwater quality in Plant Area A. Groundwater removed by the MCS will be discharged to the sanitary sewer for treatment at the Buffalo publicly owned treatment works.
  • An operation and maintenance plan for the MCS. This plan specifies routine monitoring, maintenance, and reporting requirements to ensure that the MCS continues to operate as designed.
  • Repair of metal barrier walls in Area E.
  • A groundwater monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of the remedy.
  • Area A bank erosion control along the Buffalo River, which would prevent offsite migration and erosion of contaminated soils.

Controls to address potential exposure to contaminated soils and groundwater, including: a chain-link fence around the site; 24-hour security; routine maintenance of the facility; and health and safety rules for employees, visitors and contractors working on site.

Site Description

Buffalo Color Corporation, located in an industrial area in Buffalo, New York, occupies approximately 42 acres adjacent to the Buffalo River, along Elk and Lee streets. The plant has produced dyestuffs and organic chemicals since 1879, when it was built by Schoellkopf Aniline and Dye Company (later National Aniline Chemical Company in 1916, and then Allied Chemical Corporation in 1920).

The plant produced over 1,000 different dyes and organic chemicals based on aniline and aniline derivatives. Since 1977, when Buffalo Color purchased the plant from the Allied Chemical Corporation, the plant has focused on production of indigo dye and related materials. Wastes generated from these operations include off-spec dye, anhydride tars, still process residues, spent catalysts and waste solvents. Presently all hazardous wastes are stored for less than 90 days and transported off-site for disposal.

The plant encompasses the subdivisions designated Plant Areas A, B, C, D and E. The investigation and remediation of Area D (an inactive hazardous waste site) is being overseen independently from the other plant areas by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Inactive Hazardous Waste Remediation program under a consent agreement.

Although the site contains a number of discrete units, the entire site was considered a single solid waste management unit (SWMU "ABCE") for the purposes of environmental assessment. That is because the area also included a number of widespread, poorly delineated features (e.g. abandoned sewer and process wastewater lines).

Contaminants at this Facility

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) has identified volatile and semi-volatile organic contaminants and metals in soils and groundwater at levels exceeding the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) action levels

Two aquifers have been identified at the site, a "shallow aquifer" and a "confined aquifer." Site-related groundwater contamination (by volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds) is present primarily in the shallow aquifer. In the confined aquifer, the primary contaminants detected were benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene compounds, which may be due to releases from other facilities.

Buffalo Color evaluated the potential for exposure due to the ingestion of contaminated groundwater. The risk of such exposure is precluded by the availability of drinking water from a municipal water system.

Buffalo Color also evaluated the potential for exposure to soils by incidental ingestion and inhalation of dust. Although the facility is an active industrial site, buildings, related structures and pavement cover most of the soils at the site.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

New York State leads cleanup at Buffalo Color facility under a NYS Part 373 Post Closure Permit.