TONAWANDA, N.Y. - Researchers are currently conducting studies to determine the potential impact of pollution near the Tonawanda Coke plant, which was convicted four years ago of violating federal environmental laws.
Jackie James-Creedon of Citizen Science Community Resources was in Tonawanda on Monday, asking members of the public to help them by submitting soil samples from their yards and properties. Citizen Science Community Resources, along with the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia, are looking to gather 300 volunteers as a part of their research.
They are testing for a variety of chemicals as a part of the research, which was mandated by a federal judge in the sentencing process following Tonawanda Coke's conviction in 2013.
"We're concerned that potentially, the pollution from Tonawanda Coke has migrated off-site and into people's backyards, and into their soil," James-Creedon said. "If there is contamination at high levels, we're especially concerned about the children."
As this research continues, multiple lawsuits against the company are still active, including a pending class-action lawsuit seeking damages for the loss of property values and quality of life. That suit, which could potentially be affected by the results of the soil study, is not new. However, last month, a class-action notice went out to residents in the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore as the trial approaches.