LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - People in Lockport are looking for answers. They want to know when and how the EPA plans to clean up a contaminated creek.
For the first time, dozens of residents got a chance to come face-to-face with EPA leaders and ask what's next for 18-Mile Creek.
Doug Sibolski lives just a half mile from the creek. He realizes how complicated the cleanup will be.
"It has been a long time, and it's been a battle, but the creek has been polluted for years and years," Sibolski said. "It's about time something gets done, but it's a long process...very long."
He is worried about what is in the sediment, like heavy metals and PCBs, which can cause cancer. That also concerns Marilyn Ryan, whose daughter lives near the creek.
"She's got four children. One has asthma. But you've got small children and a couple of older children, and it's a big concern," Ryan said.
The creek runs north out of Lockport, and though the state has studied the contamination for decades, the EPA just added 18-Mile Creek to its superfund cleanup program a year ago.
The EPA will divide the cleanup into three sections. The first focus will be homes in Lockport that are closest to the creek. Crews will also demolish the old Flintkote Plant, one of the creeks most notorious polluters.
Niagara County Legislator Richard Updegrove is glad the EPA is present.
"We're very optimistic that they have a plan that they're going to diligently pursue," he said.
Neighbors also found out Wednesday night that emergency cleanup work is underway. Soon crews will spread some soil in yards to eliminate any possible exposure.
The proposed long-term solution will be announced later this summer.
Though Sibolski says he and his neighbors would love to see the cleanup happen overnight, they are simply glad federal money may finally help restore their creek.
The second part of the cleanup will include industrial sites along the creek. And the third will focus on the area north of Lockport.
In the meantime, the EPA wants to hear from anyone who knows anything about which companies were involved in dumping pollutants into the creek. Knowing what was put into the water and identifying possible sources of contamination that dates back decades will help the organization with the cleanup.
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