Fluoride Action Network

Tonawanda, New York: Legacy of The Manhattan Project

Source: OpEd News | July 4th, 2010 | By Philip F. Sweet
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

65 years ago, US army general Leslie Groves came to Tonawanda, the year was 1940.

The spring of that year I was fishing at the foot of Sheridan Dr. with my Dad.

It was Blue Pike Run time. I was 8 years old and old enough to experience wars realities and fears.

All one needed for fishing gear was a bamboo pole a feather and a hook.

An hours fishing would fill a large basket and would feed many families / (Sadly here in 2009 those days are over.)

Air raid wardens came every night with flashlights in hand so as to ensure peoples lights were turned off.

Fishing in the Niagara River was my families way of helping to provide for our needs while living under war time conditions.

We all wanted to contribute to the war effort, we wanted the war over, we prayed for peace. We endorsed and accepted food rationing as our patriotic duty.

Times were bad, but gas was 20 cents a gallon, Families didn’t think or plan too much ahead and as a kid, I prayed for a better future and surviving the terrors of war.

Unknown to our community, in complete secrecy, U.S. Army General Leslie Groves was frantically pushing Linde / Union Carbide to increase it’s efforts of refining uranium for the atomic bomb Manhatten Project.

Huge amounts of uranium ore were under darkness shipped into Tonawanda’s Linde Air facility.

Among a multitude of sins committed, they secretly, in mutual agreement, injected 37,000,000 million gallons of uranium hexaFLUORIDE waste sludge into pourous sponge like rock shallow wells and when the wells could take no more they pumped the remaining gallonage into 2 mile creek.

(See The below reference NYS assembly / Fed. Connection)

2 mile creek ran through the town golf course and kid’s happily dived for submerged lost golf balls, but because of war time pentagon secrecy, parents were not told of apparent radiation chemical contamination risks.

Radioactive waste from their purification process was foolishly spread over countless acres with no apparent concern for it’s intimidating debilitating effect on an unsuspecting public.

After the war

With God’s blessings the war ended, Ranch Houses, the dream of all returning WW 2 veterans were beginning to be built in the Town of Tonawanda. Everybody wanted one, employment soared.

Our Vet’s vision of a dream fulfilled utopia was returning to a job, starting a family and if they were fortunate enough parking a car in their driveway.

Thats it! That’s all they ever wanted! That was their prayer come true!

In reality they came back to a community with a hidden military immoral past that would bear health consequences for future generations beyond belief.

Looking Ahead:

Sixty years later, here I am again. At the same place, wondering who is and how many are talking and concerned about this same nuclear nightmare we are all still facing.

Cancer has dramatically impacted my family and too many of my friends to mention.

I think it only fair and morally defenseable that government accept full responsibility.

Do the right thing U.S. Department of Defense, admit you were wrong!

There is a glimmer of hope however!

Our new revised Town of Tonawanda, Supv. Caruana administration is calling for total and full cleanup of the Tonawanda Landfill site, however by federal mandate town taxpayers are monetarily responsible for cleanup/capping.

Why is that so Corps of Engineers?

Still on Site in Town of Tonawanda owned land are measurable quantities of:

Radium 226………… 1/2 Life 1600 Years

Thorium 230 ……….. 1/2 life 32,000 years

Uranium 238 1/2 life 4.5 billion years

Americium 241……… unaccountable, large amounts are present surrounding Tonawanda Landfill. Am 241 was recently used for manufacture of smoke detectors in The Town of Tonawanda, and is also a daughter isotope of plutonium used in America’s nuclear weaponry program……….1/2 life 470 years

Large portions of this multi isotope liquid / solid nightmare our U.S. Amy / Linde created is today still a part of a dangerous to live on, walk on Tonawanda landscape.

Nothing here has changed, except incredible high cancer clusters surrounding this once pristine area with people as always speaking in hushed voices afraid to mention the sinister not to be spoken word, Shhhhhhh it’s the “MANHATTAN PROJECT”.

In only a few years the U.S. Army military’s Dept. of Defense managed to put tens of thousands at risk.

Still today we are living in aprehension, and fear while our government continues to submarine the truth. This policy of unreality is not what West Point cadets are taught, I am sure!

Questions persist as to whether or not the sponge like strata below Linde/Union Carbide /Praxair property is still radionuclide contaminated?

Or has it traveled to the Niagara River and on to Lake Ontario?

Is Tonawanda Landfill in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act?, Have the 30 times over acceptable DOE substantiated radionuclides submerged in an underwater spring reached the Niagara River yet?

Will capping ever solve this problem?

Are we burning dollars by promoting a what if perpetual guardianship policy with no end in sight?

The years have come and gone, and government is still in denial.

Our residents remain stranded and, it seems, forgotten.

Tonawanda is often compared to a multitude of toxic waste sites and is one of many sites that qualifies for superfund status.

So why worry? Tonawanda is only the tip of the iceberg of past military’s nuclear inhumanity towards innocent unsuspecting American’s.

We had to do it for national security just doesn’t cut it any more.

American’s love their kids!

They care about their health!

They care about being good parents.

They care about being good grandparents.

They care about decency, doing what is right.

They worry about the possibility of genetic defects passing on generation to generation

Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Like so many other international principles, that rule does not apply to Tonawanda and other polluted sites where residents are calling for unheard / unspoken government to help and act.

This whole nuclear environmental complicated mess hinges on the authority and discretion of the New York State Dept. of Health and vocal support of elected officials.

Will help come forth? I pray to God it will.

Kind regards

Philip F. Sweet

U.S. Army Veteran Regular Army 1954-1957


An interim report to New York State Assembly Speaker Stanley Fink / NYS Assembly Task Force on Toxic substances.

January 29, 1981 The Federal Connection A History of U.S. Involvement in the Toxic Contamination of Love Canal and the Niagara Frontier Region

A footnote:

Words of Wisdom to the Wise / Becoming Truer Today Than Ever Before

Dr. Rosalie Bertell Comments to City of Tonawanda Mayor Pilozzi &- Town of Tonawanda Public Officials- April 31, 2006

In the face of all this real threat to health and reproduction, I believe that it is foolish for you to think about a housing development. The risk of reproductive loss or congenital diseases and malformation is quite high, and this is the first health problem which will appear in a new community of young adults. The cancers will develop more slowly. When the people realize the connection with previously known serious pollution they will be irate, and the County will be liable.

You have been forewarned that you will most likely have another environmental disaster, with human heartaches, and legal liability. In addition to the cancer and reproductive problems, you will have a very high risk of asthma, respiratory problems and cardio-vascular diseases due to high levels of air pollution.

My sincere advice to the Town of Tonawanda would be to deal first with your major pollution problems, encourage local industries to move forward toward clean production, clean up historical wastelands, and then prepare for new housing developments.

Dr. Rosalie Bertell PhD; G.N,S,H
Retired President OCPH, Toronto, Member of the International Science Oversight Committee, National Assoc. of Public Health Policy, Washington, DC, Member of The Board of Regents, International Physicians for Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Bertell is a world renowned and court of law accepted expert witness in the field of Environmental Epidemiology, has spoken before Congress and honored / fulfilled my request to speak at Tonawanda H.S. in 2007 the topic being radiation exposure.

She spoke of her concern for young children’s health here in Tonawanda and graciously volunteered her help to our community.

Kind regards

Philip F. Sweet

– END –

MORE BY Philip F. Sweet at http://www.opednews.com/author/author50374.html

“Ain’t No Honeynoon Here in Tonawanda!”
“Welcome to Tonawanda Home to The Manhattan Project”

In Tonawanda, New York 14150, just a few short miles from the Honeymoon Capital of the world, “Niagara Falls”, there resides a 100 acre Manhattan Project nuclear weapons grade dump site that demands total cleanup action from U.S. Army Dept of Defense higher up’s.

Washington has decided, this site, “The Seaway Site” in a U.S. Army Record of Decision October 2009, was too costly and too dangerous to workers & community if having to remove deeply buried large amounts of weapons grade highly radioactive isotopes to a safer location.

In addition, a mile to the east, lies Tonawanda Landfill.

On this site the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has placed recreational radiation exposure time limitations upon City of Tonawanda, N.Y. Hackett St. residents 14150 and Riverview Elementary schoolchildren 14150 who dare to venture from their back door to their backyard./ playground.

Example: “Tonawanda News April 26, 2007, “7 hours Per week Over 6 Years For a Youth”.

Contrary to governmental agencies denials, this area is not a good place to live and bring up family according to a 2003 New York State Dept. of Health cancer study that shows Tonawanda well above New York State cancer occurance averages.

There is a critical need for government, “Congress”, to excavate & relocate these underground nuclides to a safer place so as to maintain integrity of life and protect national resources.

Profile Philip F. Sweet

U.S. Regular Army 1954 to 1957
Retired Construction Electrician Building Trades

Year 2002 / 2003, Worked to publicize published New York State cancer health study Tonawanda, New York, 14150 & 14217 showing above average New York State cancer statistics.

Year 2007, Performed independent radiation gamma count readings for nearby Hackett St. City of Tonawanda, New York 14150 residents abutting Tonawanda Landfill, Town of Tonawanda, New York, 14150.

Year 2010 presently working with local elected officials who are calling for DOD / DOE removal / relocation of weapons grade radionuclides Tonawanda Seaway , Town of Tonawanda, New York site to a safer place.

Past health committee member of RRG, Residents For Responsible Government, Youngstown, Lewiston, New York.

Helping to address our communities need for early on cancer bio-monitoring testing with special emphasis on children’s health and well being through medical, political and news media support.

Please See Below Excerpt Judith Mokhiber Letter

January 23, 2007

City of Tonawanda School Board
Riverview Elementary
202 Broad Street
City of Tonawanda, NY

Dear parents, school hoard members and teachers,

After talking to Mr. Philip Sweet, an advocate for the children in your school and the City of Tonawanda, I was compelled to make comments and suggestions.

I have received from Mr. Philip Sweet information regarding 14 year old document from Oak Ridge National Lab., published on October I, 1992 the results of the radiological survey at the Town of Tonawanda Landfill. An example of what they found, and I’m quoting “In 24 instances, soil samples from the Town of Tonawanda Landfill exceeded DOE guideline values for Uranium 238, Radium 226 and/or Thorium in surface or subsurface soil. Nine of these samples contained radionuclide concentration more than 30 times the guideline value.” I repeat, 30 times the guideline value.

The key statement is “surface” soil. Any wind that blows, any disturbance to the soil of any kind by man or by animals, those radionuclide are air born. Every day the school is in session, the children are exposed to the horrible legacy of the landfill dividing them by a chain link fence.

Judith R. Mokhiber
Member of State of New York Advisory council on children’s environmental health and saiety
3719 Lower River Rd
Youngstown, NY 14174