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LOCKPORT – The Common Council voted Wednesday to hire a Niagara Falls company with environmental expertise to work on the repair of a sanitary sewer line leaking into an area that is listed as a Superfund site.

Mark Cerrone Inc. was hired to replace Yarussi Construction, also of Niagara Falls, on repairs to the Gulf Interceptor sewer line in a ravine off Niagara Street near the city’s western border.

The cost of the work hasn’t been determined, because it’s not known how much of the corrugated metal pipe needs to be replaced.

The city received word about three weeks ago that the line was leaking into a tributary of Eighteen Mile Creek, whose corridor has been listed as a Superfund cleanup site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Gulf itself, as the ravine is known, is on the state Superfund list.

In March, the state Department of Environmental Conservation unveiled a $10.7 million cleanup plan for tons of what the DEC believes to be incinerator ash from the old city dump, although there are no records to prove it. The dump closed in 1951.

The primary contaminant in the ash was lead, the DEC found in testing of what it officially calls Operable Unit 2 of the Old Upper Mountain Road Site

Contaminated sediment spilled out of Gulf Creek, the tributary of Eighteen Mile Creek, during high-water periods over the years, leaving lead-laden sediment contaminated further by runoff from the ash pile, which ranges from six inches to 78 feet thick.

The Gulf Interceptor was going to have to be moved during the DEC’s cleanup efforts, the agency said in April.

Yarussi was hired last week to repair the sewer leak, but its crew backed off after workers smelled contamination at the site, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.

“It could be lead,” Tucker said. “There were a lot of old tires there.”

The Council decided another contractor was needed to repair the sewer line, and it chose Cerrone. The company will be paid for its time and materials, plus a 12 percent profit, according to the resolution.

It’s not known how much that might be, because the investigation of the leak hasn’t begun.

Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward, said there is 1,000 feet of pipe between manholes in the vicinity, and it’s not known if that entire length will need to be replaced.

The city is blaming the leak on a dam built by a beaver.

“The beaver is still down there,” Tucker said, although he added that the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which insisted on emergency repair work to the sewer, has given the city permission to remove the animal.

The Gulf Interceptor carries most of the sewage from the west end of the city to the treatment plant on West Jackson Street.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com