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Quick Action by EPA and its State and Local Partners Removes Hazardous Waste Threat at Syracuse Site; Approximately 300 drums and 6,000 small containers of contaminants removed

Release Date: 10/23/2008
Contact Information: Kristen Skopeck, (518) 747-4389 / or Colleen Deacon, (315) 448-8005 /

(Syracuse, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the city of Syracuse announced today that hazardous materials abandoned at the former Otisca Fuels building have been removed. EPA, in partnership with the city, removed flammable, corrosive, toxic and shock sensitive materials from the site, located on the corner of McBride and Butternut streets.

“This effort was a true model of how much can be accomplished when working with a cooperative partner like the city of Syracuse,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “Despite the tricky nature of removing materials from a dilapidated building, we were able to get this site under control in record time and remove the potential threats posed by the dangerous materials left behind.”

Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll said, “I commend the EPA for its rapid response to this situation. This is a perfect example of the Federal, State and Local governments pulling in the same direction for the neighborhood’s well being.”

Initial environmental investigation by the City and The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) in 2007 included a structural assessment by the City’s consultant, C&S Companies. Significant interior deterioration was discovered and as a precaution, the City installed a fence to ensure people were protected from potential falling debris, restricting pedestrian traffic in front of the building on Butternut Street and through the site. The NYS DEC asked EPA to step in on February 28, 2008 and over the course of about seven months, the EPA removed about 300 drums and 6000 small containers of various materials. The EPA’s total cost of the cleanup was about $800,000.

In the past, Otisca Industries had used the building for research and development of alternate fuels using, among other substances, coal and coal slurry as an ingredient in its fuel mixtures.

If EPA determines a site containing abandoned chemicals presents an immediate and substantial threat to public health and safety, the Agency can take immediate action and either order the party responsible for the site to conduct a cleanup or, if no viable party can immediately be identified or if the company no longer exists, EPA can do the work itself. These short term actions are authorized by the Superfund law.

For a Google Earth aerial view of the Otisca Fuels Site: (Please note that you must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the map. To download Google Earth, visit For more information on EPA’s Removal Program, visit: