Buffalo District Header Image

BUFFALO DISTRICT

Home
Home > Missions > HTRW > DERP-FUDS > Lake Ontario Ordnance Works

DERP-FUDS

LOOW

Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW)

In 1941 the Department of Defense (DOD) purchased 7,500 acres of land in Niagara County, on which was built the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW), for the purpose of manufacturing trinitrotoluene (TNT) during World War II. The TNT production, production support, and storage areas were constructed on approximately 2,500 acres. The remaining 5,000 acres, located to the west of the production area, were left undeveloped. During World War II, the Army manufactured TNT for about 9 months at a facility on the site, which included a power plant, hospital, fire department, water supply system, and waste treatment system.

The TNT plant was decommissioned in 1943. In 1945, 5,000 acres outside the production areas were declared excess and transferred to General Service Administration for disposal to private landowners. The remaining acres were used by various government agencies. As Department of Defense operations decreased, additional property was sold. Current owners of the site include the Lewiston-Porter Schools, local and federal governments, general residential areas, and private corporations.

In the 1940s approximately 1,500 acres in the southern portion of the LOOW production area were transferred to the Manhattan Engineering District (MED), which later became the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and then the Department of Energy (DOE). From the 1950s to the 1980s this area was used for various activities including the production of high energy fuel, and storage of radioactive materials during the development of the atomic bomb. Of the original 1,500 acres, 191 acres is still owned by the DOE and is known as the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS), while the remainder are owned by other entities and known as vicinity properties of the NFSS.

 

Resources

Collapse All Expand All

The USACE Buffalo District is conducting an environmental investigation at the former LOOW under the authority of the Defense Environmental Restoration Program Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS) program. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the nature and extent of contamination due to past defense activities and to assess the risks to human health and the environment. The scope of this investigation includes chemical contamination of soil, debris, surface water, groundwater, underground tanks, pipelines, ordnance and explosives. A similar investigation to determine the nature and extent of radiological contamination is being conducted on portions of the former LOOW under the FUSRAP Niagara Falls Storage Site project.

The DERP-FUDS project at the LOOW is presently in the Remedial Investigation (RI) phase. The USACE Buffalo District recently completed the Report of Results for the Remedial Investigation of Underground Utility Lines formerly used by the Department of Defense, LOOW. The electronic version of this report and the accompanying Human Health and Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessments are available at the links below. Copies of these reports are also available for review at the Administrative Record File locations listed in the next paragraph.

To learn more about what the USACE has already accomplished during its environmental investigation at the LOOW you may research our Administrative Record File. The USACE publishes its technical products, decision documents, and other supporting documents for the public in the Administrative Record File. The Administrative Record File for the LOOW site is available at the Lewiston Public Library, 305 South 8th Street, Lewiston, NY 14092 and the Youngstown Free Library, 240 Lockport Street, Youngstown, NY 14174.

Environmental investigations related to past federal activities at the former LOOW are the responsibility of several federal agencies. No single federal agency has overall responsibility or authority for the entire former LOOW site. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is conducting environmental investigations on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). There are other Department of Defense environmental investigations on former LOOW properties which the USACE is not involved. These are discussed in more detail below.

The purpose of the USACE investigations is to determine the nature, extent, and risks to human health and the environment resulting from contamination by past federal activities at the site. USACE is not involved in addressing potential contamination from private use of the former LOOW properties or future private use of LOOW properties. USACE executes environmental investigations and cleanup actions in accordance with the process established by Congress and codified in federal law and regulations - the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan (NCP).

There are two properties, totaling nearly 1,000 acres which are not within the USACE authority to investigate. Because these properties were owned by the DOD after 17 October 1986, they are addressed under the DERP Installation Restoration Program (IRP). The armed service owning the property after 17 October 1986 executes DERP-IRP projects at that site.

US Army: The 860 acre parcel north of Balmer Road is currently owned by the US Army and licensed to the NY Army National Guard. This parcel is known as the Weekend Training Site (WETS). It is ineligible for DERP-FUDS because it is still owned by the DoD. The US Army real estate agent is the New York District (NAN). The US Army primary point of contact for environmental issues at this site is:

National Guard Bureau
111 South George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
703-607-7199

The US Army agency responsible for implementing the Defense Environmental Restoration Program-Installation Restoration Program (DERP-IRP) for US Army properties in New York is:

Northern Regional Environmental Office
US Army Environmental Center
5179 Hoadley Road
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5401
410-436-7096

US Air Force: The 98-acre property located on Porter-Center Road was owned by the US Air Force. This parcel was known as the Former Youngstown Test Annex Site. The US Air Force completed environmental investigations at the site. There were no outstanding issues with respect to environmental contamination at this property. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation approved the US Air Force investigation and concurred that there were no outstanding issues. For more information on this property, contact:

US Air Force Research Laboratory
Public Affairs Office
Information Directorate / PA
26 Electric Parkway
Rome, NY 13441-4514
Email: ifoipaweb@re.af.mil

 

The US Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District welcomes your input at any time. Our goal is to offer timely and meaningful opportunities for public input to our projects and to promote the dissemination of project information to the community. Public involvement activities complement the Corps' mission to address environmental contamination at the LOOW Site from past Department of Defense (DoD) activities.

You are welcome to contact us. If you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding the LOOW Site, please send an e-mail to derpfuds@usace.army.mil. You may also mail a letter to:

USACE, Buffalo District
Attn: Special Projects Team - Outreach
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207

or call us at 1-800-833-6390 (option 4).

Click here to expand contentClick here to collapse content  News

News from the Corps

News from the Corps - Jun 17, 2013

News from the Corps - Mar 14, 2013

News from the Corps - Jan 31, 2013

News from the Corps - Jun 15, 2012

News from the Corps - May 9, 2012

News from the Corps - Apr 2, 2012 

News from the Corps emails are sent regularly when we have new information regarding the NFSS FUSRAP SIte. To receive News from the Corps, please email us at: derpfuds@usace.army.mil and ask to be added to our list.