NOTE: As a result of a FOIA request made to the General Services Administration, F.A.C.T.S. has obtained evidence that of the bidders at GSA's auction in 1960 only Ashland Oil Co. knew the Haist Property was contaminated (see the documents following the DOE Authority Review reproduced immediately below ). At that time, the property was assessed for $5000, which was the amount of the second highest bid.

Also obtained was a summary of the AEC radiological survey of the Haist property done in 1957 showing that the property was contaminated with uranium compounds at levels over ten times the license requiring threshhold of AEC's source material regulations (0.05% by weight of uranium). See 1957 Haist survey.

Since only AEC itself was exempted from the 10 CFR Part 40 Source Material licensing requirements, AEC's transfer of the Haist property to GSA without licensing the contamination present on the property was an illegal action. Despite reservations expressed by individuals within GSA about the contamination, managers eventually accepted AEC's irresponsible claims of safety.



Summary of Pertinent Facts

The Ashland Oil site (the former Haist Property), Tonawanda, New York, was used by the MED for the storage of residues from the former Linde Uranium Refinery during the mid-1940s. The site was first used under lease and then purchased by the government in 1944. Residues at the site were maintained by the MED, and later by the AEC, as potential sources of uranium. However, in the late l950s, it was determined that, considering the cost of moving and processing the material and decontaminating the property, it was not economically attractive to continue to maintain these residues from a uranium recovery standpoint and disposal of the site was proposed.

A radiological survey of the former Haist Property was conducted in October, 1957. The limited survey found uranium concentrations in excess of 1 percent (6800 pCi/g) and uranium concentrations in the water as high as 100 mg/l (68 pCi/ml) but generally below 1 mg/l and radium in the soil in excess of 200 pCi/g of soil. Radiation levels on the site ranges from 40 microR/hr to 80 microR/hr at 3 feet from the surface. Contact levels were as high as 180 microR/hr and the bore measurements ranged from 50 to 450 microR/hr. The survey report, dated September 1958, stated that from a "health and safety viewpoint, the disposal of the property with residue thereon appears to present no significant problems." The notice of availability of excess real property was issued to Operations Managers in July 1958. The notice stated that "a recent survey indicated there are no health and safety problems which prevent transfer or sale of this property." In November 1959, the site was declared excess to AEC needs and authorization for disposal was granted. Records, including the survey, and responsibility for the site were transferred to the General Services Administration (GSA). On June 17, 1960, a quit-claim deed was issued by GSA to Ashland Oil Co. transferring ownership to them. There is no indication that any of the records identifying the contaminated nature of the site was transferred to the owner, and the deed provide no information regarding the radiological status of the site. Furthermore, there is no indication that the property was excessed for less than its fair market value as the site (10.8 acres) was purchased for $56,000.

Following purchase of the site, Ashland Oil Co. during some construction activities at the former Haist Property, excavated and transferred contaminated material to the nearby Seaway Industrial Park and possibly another Ashland property north of Seaway.

In August 1976, a radiological survey was conducted at the site by the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL). This survey indicated that the site was contaminated by residues and radiation levels were in excess of those used under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) as criteria for declaring the site acceptable for unrestricted use.

Authority Analyses

Because the quit-claim deed did not acknowledge the presence of residue on the site nor did it place restrictions on the site or require monitoring of the site, and based on the analysis of records and discussions with representatives of the owners of the site, it appears Ashland Oil accepted the site without cognizance of the contaminated material contained therein. There is no evidence to su ggest that the owners of Seaway Industrial Park knowingly accepted the low-level waste from Ashland.

For a site to be included in the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, a positive determination must be possible for each of five questions. These are addressed below.

1. Was the site/operation owned by a DOE predecessor or did a DOE predecessor have significant control over the operations or site?

In the case of the former Haist Property, AEC owned and monitored the disposal/storage site.

2. Was a DOE predecessor agency responsible for maintaining or ensuring the public health and safety and environment of the site (i.e., were they responsible for cleanup?)

AEC was the owner and operator of the site and owned materials stored on the site. AEC evaluated and assessed the property and indicated to GSA that it was acceptable for unrestricted use. It was on the basis of this AEC data that GSA released the property for unrestricted use.

3. Is the waste, residue, or radioactive material on the site the result of DOE predecessor-related operations?

The material on the former Haist Property and associated properties is clearly material derived from MED/AEC operations.

4. Is the site in need of further cleanup and was the site left in unacceptable condition as a result of DOE predecessor-related activities?

Radiological surveys indicate that the site is contaminated with residues resulting from former MED/AEC o perations and the site was contaminated when Ashland Oil Company, which received the property without restrictions, excavated radioactive residues material from the former Haist Property, and deposited it on nearby properties.

5. Did the present owner accept responsibility for the site with knowledge of its contaminated condition and that additional remedial measures are necessary before the site is acceptable for unrestricted use by the general public?

The data available do not provide any indication that the current owner had knowledge of the radiological condition of the site or accepted responsibility for the residues.



Frontier Oil Refining Company
Division of Ashland Oil & Refining Company, Incorporated
Ellicott Square - Post Office Box 2013
Buffalo 5, N.Y.

January 14, 1960

Mr. Albert Wilson
Chief, Disposal Branch General Services Administration
250 Hudson Street
New York 13, New York

Dear Mr. Wilson:

Thank you for coming by my office today to let us know that consideration is being given to the sale of the ten acre tract of property adjacent to our refinery plant site on River Road, Town of Tonawanda , New York. This is the property which has been owned by the U.S. Government and used for the disposal of atomic energy wastes. I was also glad to meet Mr. John Hogan who is Associ ate Regional Appraiser for G.S.A.

Please consider that we are prospective purchasers of the property and let us know when you decide to offer it for sale and under what terms. I understand that you presently plan to have it appraised and then advertise for sealed bids. I also understand that the title transfer will be by quitclaim.

Cordially yours,

Frontier Oil Refining Company

W.D. Baskett, Jr. President WDB:jr




To : Regional Commissioner Date : Jan 27 1960

From : Acting Chief, Disposal Branch 2PRD

Subject: 10 Acres of fee-owned land and 4.6 acres of right-of-way easement, Town of Tonawanda, Erie County, New York B-NY-543

This land is considered unfit for further Federal use, either as a building site or open storage, etc., due to the following conditions disclosed by an inspection made by a representative of the Acquisition & Disposal Division on January 13, 1960:

a) It is located in a desolate, isolated section.

b) The fee-owned ground is completely covered by deep piles of refinery waste (an oily muck-type substance of considerable depth) dumped by Government contractors for many years.

It is evident from the above that screening of this excess land for further Federal use would serve no useful purpose, and it is therefore proposed to waive such screening in conformity with the provisions of Manual GS-6, Volume 6-3, 505.02, Chapter V. Your approval is solicited.

Attached are a map of the fee-owned land and the easement, and a copy of the Inspection Report dated January 20, 1960.


APPROVED: s/ Downey

DATED: 1/27/60




Subject: Atomic Energy Commission
Haysit [sic] Property, Part of Lot 94
New York State Reservation
Town of Tonawanda, Erie County, N.Y.

In accordance with Manual GS 6-3, Chapter 5, Section 401.03, an inspection was made by Mr. John Hogan, Associate Regional Appraiser, Mr. Albert Wilson, Chief, Disposal Branch, accompanied by Mr. George Vigorito, Area Manager, Buffalo, New York, on January 13, 1960.

a. Range of Federal Utilization:

Subject property consists of 10 acres of vacant land in fee, enclosed by a cyclone fence, together with 4.6 acres, which consists of a 60 ft. wide easement running from State Highway 266 to the above described property. The property was acquired by the holding agency as a dumping ground for atomic waste. The acquisition cost was $33,684.00. The property will be screened in the near future. GSA has no potential use of this property.

b. Range of Community Use:

Inspection indicated that this parcel would best serve the community if conveyed to the abutting land owner, Frontier Oil Refining Company, which company owns and operates hundreds of acres of land in the adjacent areas.

c. Effect of Possible Severance:

Not applicable.

d. Related Personal Property:


e. Butler Warehouses, Trailers and Quonset Huts:


f. Mineral Activity:


g. Protection and Maintenance:


h. Drawings, Specifications, Etc.:

Plot plans are available in this office.

i. Decontamination:

Presently being explored with the Atomic Energy Commission.

j. Cannibalization:

Not applicable.

At the time of the inspection a conference was held with the Manager, Industrial Department, Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, and the subject property was discussed. As a result of this discussion, the writers were referred to Mr. William D. Baskett, Jr., President, Frontier Oil Refining Company, who at a subsequent conference indicated that his company would have definite interest in bidding on this property, provided the market value was reasonable and the decontamination would be no factor.

Regional Appraiser

Chief, Disposal Branch

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