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Concerns over Falls road fill radiation

Updated: Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 5:37 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 5:37 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Tip calls and e-mails to our newsroom spawned a probe into contaminated soil in Niagara County.

Now, a state lawmaker is calling for an investigation, and one expert in radioactive waste management is expressing concern. The controversy involves radioactive road fill in Niagara Falls and there are still lots of questions.

Contractor David Pfeiffer, who owns Man O' Trees Contracting, dropped a bombshell on the reconstruction of Lewiston Road in Niagara Falls.

"The truth is there is a health hazard on that project and it's not being properly cleaned up," said Pfeiffer.

He tells News 4 that he's learned that radiation levels, in some spots, are 10 times higher than the normal background levels for that area.

Pfeiffer said, "We were told not to chase the radiation, although it is on all of the people's lawns."

Pfeiffer says his workers have been told to stick to the road job, which is behind schedule and over-budget by millions of dollars already.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "The project is not a remedial project for removing radioactive materials wherever they're found. It's a road construction project in which radioactive materials that are under the road are being removed, and so there are limits to the bounds of the project."

Dr. Marvin Resnikoff said, "When you have levels that are 10 times greater and more, then yes, I'm very concerned about that aspect of it."

Dr. Resnikoff is an international consultant with of Radioactive Waste Management Associates who's familiar with the Niagara Falls situation.

"In my opinion, that material should be taken out now. This material is going to stay radioactive essentially forever. Roads are going to come and go. You know, kicking the can down the road is not going to solve the problem," said Dr. Resnikoff.

Now, one state lawmaker says there should be an independent investigation.

Senator George Maziarz said, "Somebody is not telling the truth. Let's find out who it is. I don't want to see an unsafe condition, a hazardous condition covered up. That is not in anyone's best interest."

A state Health Department spokesperson tells News 4 that radiation monitoring methods used by the agency have not detected a health risk to workers and that the radioactive slag in question is not in a form that can be breathed in or swallowed.

Copyright WIVB.com


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