Cleanup of Morgan Materials Site, Town of Tonawanda, New York
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed a seventeen-month cleanup at the Morgan Materials Inc. site located in northern Erie County at 380 Vulcan Street, Town of Tonawanda, NY. The facility consists of a series of 7 connected warehouse buildings on 8- acres located in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood and is in close proximity to a nearby charter school.
The owner of Morgan Materials had purchased and was storing, off-specification chemicals, or excess materials, including both hazardous and nonhazardous waste by-products and attempted to resell these chemical “seconds” to domestic and international entities. Some of the chemicals stored in the warehouses had been at the facility for more than 20 years.
The stored materials were contained in 55-gallon drums, boxes, super sacks and other assorted containers stored on metal racks up to four shelves high, and stacked two or three pallets high. The condition of the containers ranged from very good condition to very poor with many of them open to the outside environment. Most notable were containers labeled, flammable, corrosive, and oxidizers that were not stored properly, in a state of disrepair which could have caused a significant emergency response event.
On November 18, 2016 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a Summary Abatement Order (SAO) requiring the company to immediately cease purchasing, receiving or acquiring chemical materials. The SAO enabled the DEC to refer the cleanup to EPA. EPA secured the site providing 24-hour security and initially developed a plan and timetable to address removing the waste products from the site property.
EPA began the cleanup process by conducting an inventory, identifying the waste and removing it safely. The majority of the flammables at the site, consisting of epoxies and resins were identified and over 36 chemical manufacturers that sold products to Morgan Materials voluntarily removed their waste products during the cleanup activities saving tax-payers approximately $8 million in removal costs.
The cleanup activities began in late November 2016 and over 10,170 drums and other containers, some of which stored flammable and corrosive liquids, were removed for off-site disposal.
In addition, over 5,032 tons of chemicals packaged in other containers were also removed for off-site disposal.
During the entire cleanup operation EPA conducted air monitoring activities on the property to insure that contractors and all employees were working in a safe environment. EPA completed their cleanup activities utilizing an industrial vacuum to remove residual materials and debris from floors of the warehouses.
All of the hazardous waste was transported to off-site regulated disposal facilities out of state. The nonhazardous waste materials went to regulated state disposal facilities.
Now that the site has been cleaned up under the EPA removal program the site will be returned to the NYSDEC for further actions as they deem necessary.