Following a 2011 hazardous materials agreement between the City of Buffalo and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the city’s handling of dangerous goods has not improved as much as residents had hoped.
City Hall is now facing more than $100,000 in fines after the mishandling and improper storage of spent lamps that could leak mercury, as well as old paint, used oil and cleaning fluids that could ignite if exposed to flame.
A report from Buffalo’s Investigative Post states that the city’s problems came to the attention of the EPA in 2008. After the 2011 agreement assured the city had matters under control, it was just five months later that EPA officials discovered more problems, including nearly a ton of ignitable paints, thinners and solvents stored in hundreds of containers, many corroded and leaking, at the city’s mechanical services building at 1326 Seneca St. EPA inspectors EPA inspectors also found hundreds of spent lamps, some broken, stored in City Hall and the Buffalo Science Museum
The EPA issued a notice of violation and cited the city for failing to comply with the 2011 agreement.
Although the City has a division of environmental affairs, the office has been empty for most of the past decade. Funding for the division was not even included in the city budget from 2005 to 2008.