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Mike Basile: (716) 551-4410
EPA added the Peter Cooper factory site in Gowanda, New York (Cattaraugus County) to the Superfund National Priorities List on March 6, 1998, because of harmful chemicals at the site. From 1904 until 1985, the Eastern Tanners Glue Company and the Peter Cooper Corporation (PCC) manufactured glue and industrial adhesives at the site, which is currently owned by Jimcar Development, Inc. For more than 50 years, PCC used part of the site to store toxic sludge, a byproduct from glue production.
Studies by EPA and its contractors over the last 25 years showed that buried waste was becoming exposed, a retaining wall holding back waste had collapsed, and harmful contaminants were seeping into Cattaraugus Creek, a popular fishing area bordering the site. High levels of arsenic, chromium and zinc, which can pose health threats, have been detected in the site's subsurface soil and groundwater. Continued deterioration of the site could expose local residents to higher levels of these contaminants.
To prevent contaminants from reaching Cattaraugus Creek, EPA in 1997 ordered New York Oil and Gas, the site's owner at the time, to build a wall to hold back additional waste. EPA issued a Record of Decision in 2005 that detailed a cleanup plan for the site, which includes excavating contaminated soil and liquid from the site, managing a gas from a landfill and possibly installing a system to limit groundwater interaction with waste. EPA is currently negotiating how the plan will be implemented.