NIAGARA FALLS – Local and state health officials are working on ways to reduce radiation levels inside a former Niagara Falls Boulevard tire store in hopes of improving chances of its reuse.
The vacant former Dunn Tire store at 9540 Niagara Falls Blvd. is built over fill containing radioactive slag, said James J. Devald, county environmental health director.
“It’s the same radioactive slag that’s under other areas in Niagara Falls, [such as] Lewiston Road,” Devald said.
Larger amounts of radioactive material than expected delayed the reconstruction of that street for several years.
The slag lies beneath the parking lot and part of the building, and extends beneath part of the parking lot of the Rapids Bowling Center next door, Devald told the Board of Health last week.
“We’ve known about it for years,” Devald said. “There was one area of the [tire] building where they were advised not to have an office. They used it for tire storage.”
However, Devald said Dunn’s decision to close the store was made for business reasons only. Dunn Tire did not respond to a request for comment emailed to the company.
Devald said he and the state Health Department will meet with the building’s owner, GMA Properties, to talk about how to reduce the radiation inside the store.
No remediation is planned, Devald said. The state Health Department was unable to provide further information.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation said the DEC doesn’t list the store on any of its hazard or remediation registries.
The former tire store is assessed at $400,000, according to the city’s online tax roll.
In other environmental matters at Thursday’s Board of Health session, Devald said a statewide map of cancer clusters, listing more than 20 types of cancer, is now online at the state Health Department website.
It shows proximity of cancer cases to environmentally hazardous sites, and can be zoomed down to the local level, Devald said.
He also told the board that some people with fishing licenses have been mailed information about taking part in a state study of the health impacts of eating fish caught in Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Niagara River.
The goal is to sign up 300 anglers living in Erie, Niagara and Monroe counties, along with 200 Burmese refugees now living in Buffalo.
Participants will have to give blood and urine samples and consent to be interviewed about their fish consumption. The testing will measure the levels of chemicals and heavy metals in the bodies of the study subjects.