Lewiston, NY - A group in Niagara County has some major concerns about nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project that is stored in Lewiston. The storage facility is right next to the Lew-Port Schools Complex. The waste is located on Pletcher Road in Lewiston in a ten acre Interim Waste Containment Structure.
A recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report shows contamination around the site is not new, but group members say they have evidence that proves this is not the case. They say the Corps of Engineers did not release all of its data at a recent meeting.
The report concluded contamination and leakage is not new, but residual.
"The findings of the Army Corps that were not reported to the public seem to suggest that the cell is leaking," says Amy Witryol.
Witryol sits on the Restoration Advisory Board, which is one of the groups concerned about the waste.
She thinks there is evidence suggesting the containment structure is leaking from its bottom.
Wednesday night, Witryol's group got together to review the government's latest data.
"We are not aware of any leakage that would create any sort of public health emergency. But what we are concerned about is what it says about the integrity of the storage and whether or not this could turn into something much more serious," she says.
The Lewiston storage site is not a permanent solution, but the waste has been stored there for decades.
The Army Corps of Engineers is charged with figuring out what to ultimately do with the waste, and while the timeline is still up in the air, time is something Witryol is afraid we are running out of.
"If there were a catastrophic event, and the cap on that cell collapsed, or broke open, the plume of radon would affect a very, very large radius perhaps as far as from here to Buffalo or here to Toronto," she says.
A member of Senator Chuck Schumer's office was at Wednesday night's meeting and will bring all of this information back to him.
The group is going to meet again in 90 days to decide what to do next.