Tonawanda Coke Confirms Waste Tunnel Collapse

In May, The Tonawanda Coke Corporation confirmed our allegations that the waste heat tunnel at their facility had collapsed, possibly causing toxic emissions to spew into the surrounding community.

The waste heat tunnel is a concrete tunnel that runs underground the length of the battery, all 60 coke manufacturing ovens. The main purpose of the waste heat tunnel is to collect the waste combustible heat from the ovens. Now that the tunnel has collapsed, gases can’t normally flow into the facility’s chimneys, and the company can’t draw enough fresh air into the manufacturing process. Without enough fresh air drawn into the process, the coking process will possibly create toxic releases into the ambient air, and into the surrounding community.

One of the chemical’s of concern is benzene, a known carcinogen linked to leukemia and other types of illnesses.

You can view the press coverage here from the Buffalo News, WIVB Channel 4,and WGRZ, Channel 2.

We call on the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to perform a full investigation of the incident. We are calling on state and federal agencies to determine the cause of the tunnel collapse, risks posed to workers, and risks posed to the surrounding community.

If you live or work in the area and are noticing dark smoke or odors coming from the facility, submit a complaint to the New York Department of Conservation by calling 851-7000 or completing and mailing in this complaint form.

We will keep you posted as this situation progresses.

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