Eighteen Mile Creek Corridor & Downstream Reaches

Eighteen Mile Creek, in the heart of Niagara County, is surrounded by six residential townships, and many citizens own creek-front property. Portions of the creek are used extensively for fishing, boating, and recreation. During operation, the New York State Barge Canal discharges water into the East and West Branches of the creek. During dry periods, the New York State Barge Canal provides a significant portion of the creek's flow. The portion of the creek in the City of Lockport flows through and out of several abandoned commercial and industrial properties, as well as a small residential neighborhood and is referred to as the "corridor." The creek corridor itself consists of approximately 10.6 acres between Clinton and Harwood Streets in the City of Lockport.

photo of Eighteen Mile Creek

Public Health Assessment

The New York State Department of Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry complete a Public Health Assessment for every site in New York that is on the National Priorities List, also known as the federal Superfund list. In a Public Health Assessment, the health agencies review information about hazardous substances at a site and evaluate whether contact (exposure) to those substances might cause harm to people. The Public Comment Draft Public Health Assessment was released in August 2014. The Department of Health considered public comments and finalized the Public Health Assessment in December 2015. For the Eighteen Mile Creek Public Health Assessment, we evaluated existing environmental data for chemicals in creek sediments, surface water, and soil and fill materials in and along the creek. Based on the data and information that people can access and use portions of the creek for recreation and fishing, the New York State Department of Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have the following conclusions about the site:

  1. Eating fish taken from the entire Eighteen Mile Creek could harm people's health due to the amount and type of chemical contaminants found in fish tested from this waterway. The New York State Department of Health fish consumption advice for Eighteen Mile Creek is "Don't Eat Any Fish" from all reaches of the Creek, both above and below the Burt Dam to Lake Ontario. Anglers who want to enjoy the fun of fishing but who wish to avoid the concerns about eating contaminated fish from Eighteen Mile Creek may want to consider catch and release.
  2. Touching or handling contaminated sediments in Eighteen Mile Creek within the Corridor area could harm people's health. There are several locations within the Corridor area where people can gain access to the waterway and potentially come in contact with contaminated sediments and fill. The US Environmental Protection Agency has tried to limit access but evidence suggests that people are still gaining access to contaminated areas.
  3. Touching or handling contaminated soils and sediments from residential backyards at nine residential and vacant properties along Water Street in the City of Lockport could harm people's health. Actions taken by EPA in the fall of 2013 (installation of a clean soil cover over contaminated soil) followed by relocation of residents in 2014 prevents future residents or trespassers from contacting contaminated soil in the backyards on Water Street.
  4. Touching or handling contaminated soils while trespassing on the former Flintkote plant property could harm people's health. The Flintkote property is fenced to restrict access, but there is evidence that people are trespassing. In addition to contaminated soils, there are physical hazards on the property including unsafe buildings and debris.
  5. Touching or handling contaminated soils in some areas at Upson Park could be a concern for people's health if people are touching or handling these soils over a long period of time (years). The amount of contamination found in some areas is high enough to be a concern for individuals who may be working or playing in these areas.
map of Eighteen Mile Creek

The following document has been prepared for Eighteen Mile Creek:

For questions about this document, please contact the New York State Department of Health by email documentcomments@health.ny.gov, phone 518-402-7860, or write to us at:

Center for Environmental Health
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Empire State Plaza-Corning Tower, Room 1787
Albany, New York 12237