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.



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 Project Status

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.

 USACE Activities at LOOW

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).

 Other DoD Activities at LOOW

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

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

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


 Community Involvement

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 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).

 Fact Sheets / FAQs

Public Presentations / Posters / Transcripts


(All document files are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

To request specific FUSRAP documents, please fill out this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request Form and submit it to the Buffalo District FOIA Coordinator listed on the form.

Occidental Chemical Property

Construction Completion Report for Soil Remediation Action (Aug 2020)

     Attachment A - Figures

     Attachment B - Photographic Log

     Attachment C - Pre-Mobilization and Post-Mobilization Site Condition Survey Reports

     Attachment E - Waste Transportation and Disposal Documentation

     Attachment H - Restoration Material Documentation

     Attachment I - Field Notes, Daily Reports, QC

     Attachment J - Safety & Health Phase-Out Report

Occidental Chemical Property Site Operations Plan (Sep 2018)

Occidental Chemical Property Accident Prevention Plan (Sep 2018)

Occidental Chemical Property Contractor Quality Control Plan (Sep 2018)

Occidental Chemical Property Quality Assurance Project Plan and Sampling and Analysis Plan (Sep 2018)

Occidental Chemical Property Decision Document (Jun 2017)

Occidental Chemical Property Proposed Plan (Dec 2016)

Occidental Chemical Property Feasibility Study (Jun 2015)

Occidental Chemical Property Remedial Investigation, Main Text (Apr 2013) 
     Occidental Chemical Property Remedial Investigation, App. A-F (Apr 2013)
     Occidental Chemical Property Remedial Investigation, App. G (Apr 2013)
     Occidental Chemical Property Remedial Investigation, App. H-J (Apr 2013)

Wastewater Treatment Plant Property

Wastewater Treatment Plan Feasibility Study (Jun 2014)

Overall Site

Management Action Plan (MAP) for the LOOW, Update 2 (May 2015)

Site Inspection of Ground Disturbances at LOOW (Nov 2014)

Groundwater Monitoring Well Decommissioning Completion Report (Jun 2013)

Groundwater Monitoring Well Decommissioning Work Plan (Jan 2013)

Management Action Plan (MAP) for the LOOW, Update 1 (Feb 2013)

Inventory Project Report (INPR) for the LOOW, Addendum 2 (Dec 2012)

Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Main Report (Oct 2011) 
     Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Appendix A (Oct 2011) 
     Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Appendix B (Oct 2011) 
     Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Appendix C (Oct 2011) 
     Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Appendices D & E (Oct 2011) 
     Phase IV Remedial Investigation, LOOW, Appendix F (Oct 2011)

Other Reports

Completion Report, OEA Mitigation of Safety Hazards at LOOW WWTP (Mar 2012)

 Administrative Record

The administrative record file is a collection of documents that form the basis for the selection of a response action at an environmental restoration site. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required to establish an administrative record for every remedial or response action under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS). The administrative record file for the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Site can be found at the following link:

Administrative Record for the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Site