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EPA Addresses Contamination at Former Glue Waste Disposal Site in Cattaraugus County

Release Date: 09/12/2006
Contact Information: Ben Barry, (212) 637-3651 or

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a plan to address soil contamination at the Peter Cooper Markhams Superfund Site in Cattaraugus County, New York. The plan calls for consolidating contaminated soil from a 15-acre area of the site, placing a protective barrier over it and topping it with clean soil.

“Thousands of tons of contaminated waste were just left at this site without any regard for proper protection of the environment,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “By containing this waste, we will prevent it from contaminating the soil and affecting the ground water.”

Peter Cooper Markhams site was used for the disposal of waste from a former animal glue and adhesives plant located in Gowanda, New York. This waste, known as “cookhouse sludge” because of a cooking cycle that occurred just prior to extraction of the glue, comes from chrome-tanned animal hides. This sludge and other waste material found at the site contain elevated levels of chromium, arsenic, zinc, and several organic compounds.

From approximately 1955 until September 1971, approximately 9,600 tons of waste materials from the Gowanda plant were placed in a 15-acre area at the site. In 1971, PCC transferred approximately 38,600 additional tons of waste materials from the Gowanda Landfill to the site. The site was added to the National Priorities List in February 2000. The investigation of the site was conducted under a Unilateral Administrative Order with 14 Potentially Responsible Parties under EPA oversight.

Copies of site-related documents and the proposed cleanup plan are available for public review at the Dayton Town Building, 9100 Route 62, phone (716)532-9449 and at EPA’s New York City office.

For more information on the Peter Cooper site: