When the fire at Premium PPE broke out on July 20 Amherst fire inspector John Pidgeon told WGRZ that "we are monitoring with the DEC and state agencies to make sure no hazard come up."
Now the news organization, WGRZ, has learned through a Freedom Of Information Law request that air, soil, and water tests conducted on July 21, a little more than 14 hours after the fire started, determined nearly three dozen "pollutants of concern" were detected at the site.
According to the documents, the testing was conducted by John Richter, Pretreatment Coordinator of the Environmental Control Division at the EPA/NYSDEC.
In an email to state and federal officials, Richter reports cyanide and dioxane “may have entered both the Town of Amherst Sewer Lateral System and the Town of Amherst Storm Water Collection system.”
According to a spreadsheet of all chemicals detected at the site of the fire, 1.23 mg/L of cyanide were discharged into the sewer system, "slightly above town standards," Richter said in that email to state and federal officials.
As for the Dioxane, 20 ug/L were detected in a sewer discharge.
A NYSDEC spill report revealed that the building stored resins and isocyanate for "blown-in insulation." The document also found that the owner of Premium PPE indicated a shipping error resulted in “about 100 drums of resin and one drum of isocyanate” being stored on-site at the time of the fire.
The spill report discovered the site also stored diesel and propane tanks.
The tests also detected other chemical compounds and "pollutants of concern" including Benzene, Toluene, Phenol, Naphthalene, and Mercury.
In total, the testing found more than 150 chemical compounds at the site of the fire.
Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa reported that the wastewater treatment facility handled the chemicals without issue and noted the facility did a “good job of containment so pollutants that did wash away from the building stayed on site. He noted the facility had appropriate drainage surrounding it, meaning water did not leach into the city’s storm system.
Dozens of fire companies and hundreds of firefighters from across Western New York responded to the fire, which remains under investigation. Demolition of the facility is pending as insurance companies conduct their investigations.