BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — PVS Chemical Solutions’ Buffalo facility has been ordered to temporarily cease operations by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Lee Street PVS location was slapped with a temporary cease and desist, “due to a public health risk to users of the nearby athletic field at the Medaille College Sports Complex at Buffalo Color Park.” DEC officials say the decision was made in collaboration with the NYS Department of Health.

The state agencies cite a high level of Sulfur Dioxide coming from the Medaille College Sports Complex at Buffalo Color Park athletic field neighboring the PVS facility. The DEC says the high emissions pose a public health threat to those who use the field.

The DEC tells us sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas with a strong smell and taste, exposure can cause irritation and permanent damage to the lungs. The chemical can be transported over long distances and contributes to the creation of acid rain, damaging plant and animal life.

NYS says PVS Chemical must cease operations until they can prove the facility can operate without posing a public health threat.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says PVS repeatedly exceeded air quality standards and they must find a way to correct it if the company wants to operate again.

“After repeated exceedances of air quality standards, I am directing PVS Chemical Solutions to cease operations, effective immediately,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Until PVS can prove it can operate without emitting potentially harmful SO2 into this community, either by altering operations or scaling back production, it should remain shuttered. DEC will not hesitate to use our full regulatory authority to protect this community from exposure to potentially dangerous pollution.”

“My staff are coordinating with the Department of Environmental Conservation in this investigation to ensure that public health is protected and immediate exposure risk is mitigated,” added NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. 

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will work to investigate any possible exposures to the facility’s employees.  

Read the cease and desist order below:

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.