The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to rid a parking lot of radioactive material that is shared by Greater Niagara Building Center and Rapids Bowling, both in Buffalo, N.Y. According to reporter Dan Telvock, officials have been working for several years to determine how contaminated the parking lot is:
From September 2006 through July 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and state health officials conducted radiological surveys that found radiation high enough in the office and warehouse at the building supply store to recommend employees avoid the areas. In addition, officials found the parking lot and a marshy area behind the buildings had radiation readings between 55 and 80 times what people are naturally exposed to in the area.
Despite this contamination, the former property owner of the bowling alley and building supply store violated a state health directive by digging into the parking lot at least twice without any penalty from the state.
To start the cleanup process, "in 2013 [New York] sent the EPA a list of the most contaminated properties they were aware of to determine if they qualified for cleanup under the federal Superfund program," Telvock says. Greater Niagara's parking lot was included on the list, though it did not qualify for Superfund. Instead, the EPA examined the parking lot "to determine if the waste should be removed."
Now, "the EPA said it will remove contaminated waste" from the lot, according to Telvock. While Greater Niagara's lot will be cleared, there are still at least 60 other properties that need to be cleaned.
"The radioactive material looks like gravel and was used throughout the region for roads, driveways and parking lots," Telvock writes in a second article. "Authorities believe the material is commercial waste from companies in Niagara Falls that process metal ores."
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