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Cleanup Work Begins at Peter Cooper Superfund Site

Release Date: 07/28/2009
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662,

(New York, NY) Cleanup work is underway at the Peter Cooper Superfund site, a former animal glue factory in Gowanda, New York. The site of the former Peter Cooper Corporation factory, which includes an inactive waste disposal area and some areas of contaminated soil, is being cleaned up by a group of responsible parties under EPA oversight, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Once the cleanup is complete, the Village of Gowanda and the Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation plan to turn the property into a recreational area.

“EPA is pleased that this site will not only be cleaned up, but that it will ultimately be converted from an eyesore into a beautiful creek-side recreation area for the community,” said Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “With this cleanup, the village will be able to put this property to good use and EPA will be achieving one of the primary goals of Superfund—cleaning up sites and returning them to the community.”

First, certain areas must be cleared of trees, shrubs and brush so that construction work can begin. Then, the Cattaraugus Creek Bank will be re-graded and stabilized to minimize the potential of erosion of the bank, and a cap will be placed over the landfill. Contaminated waste that is present in the landfill will be covered to prevent it from spreading further into the soil, ground water, and surface water.

Peter Cooper Corporation and its predecessor, Eastern Tanners Glue Company, manufactured animal glue in Gowanda from 1904 to 1972. When the animal glue product line was terminated, Peter Cooper Corporation continued to produce synthetic industrial adhesives until the plant closed in 1985. The wastes from Peter Cooper Corporation’s glue production were disposed of on the property. Between 1925 and October 1970, Peter Cooper Corporation also piled sludge produced in the glue manufacturing process onto the property. The sludge is produced from cooking chrome-tanned hides obtained from tanneries. The waste material has been shown to contain elevated levels of chromium, arsenic, zinc, and several organic compounds.

For more information on the Peter Cooper Landfill Superfund site, visit: For a Google Earth aerial view of the Peter Cooper site: (Please note that you must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the map. To download Google Earth, visit