Welcome to FMC Middleport
For more than 70 years, FMC Corporation has been an important contributor to the Middleport and Eastern Niagara County economies by operating an active plant whose final products help protect over 100 crops in more than 75 countries.
Situated on a former orchard, the 102-acre plant site was originally used by the Niagara Sprayer Company until FMC took over full operations from that company in 1946.
Today, the Middleport plant is part of FMC Agricultural Solutions, one of three FMC business segments that collectively serve the global agricultural, industrial and consumer markets with innovative solutions, applications and quality products.
Manufacturing activities at the plant ceased in 1985 when the facility’s focus changed to formulation -- a process whereby ingredients are mixed and packaged into product lines of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides that help protect property and specific crops against insects, weeds and funguses.
The Middleport plant currently supports growers' requirements for a variety of formulations, including dustless powders, micro-encapsulated liquid and flowable liquids in different sizes and shapes for packaging.
At the same time, FMC is also investing in new biological technologies and products to help growers of fruits, vegetables and row crops, like corn, who are seeking more chemical solutions that reduce impact on the environment.
These products significantly help farmers worldwide to produce abundant crops, keep food prices stable and guarantee the availability of certain foods among different populations.
In addition to its plant operations and contributions to the local economy, FMC also plays a valuable role in making Middleport a special place to live by supporting local initiatives in health and human services, education and science, environment and conservation, and the arts and culture.
Environmental Remediation Program
As part of their operations, FMC and predecessor companies on the Middleport site handled and produced pesticide compounds containing arsenic starting in the late 1920's and ending in 1974 – 11 years before FMC ceased manufacturing activities at the plant.
In the course of these operations, there were air emissions and fugitive dusts containing arsenic that could have resulted in deposition of arsenic in some areas downwind. There were also possible releases to surface water through stormwater runoff or discharge of wastewater.
FMC has been engaged since the early 1970’s in studies and remedial actions to address arsenic from its past operations that impacted soils, surface water, and groundwater at the plant. In conjunction with this effort, FMC has worked closely with Middleport Village, Federal, State and School District officials, the Middleport Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and the Middleport Community Input Group (MCIG).
Since 1991, FMC’s efforts have been guided by an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for soil arsenic cleanup in the Village of Middleport cosigned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
The AOC was issued pursuant to the U.S. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984.
To date, FMC has spent more than $200 million in remediation efforts in the Village of Middleport, including the development of RCRA Facility Investigations (RFI) and a Corrective Measure Study (CMS), and conducting more than six Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs) for cleanup involving the Royalton-Hartland School District property, residential properties on S. Vernon St., Maple and Park Avenues, the North Railroad Property, and residential lots on a proposed Village subdivision.
Throughout this process, FMC has been committed to being accessible and helping the local community better understand the presence of arsenic in soil and providing data disproving any human health and safety issues.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in soil, air, water, and many foods such as rice, flour, grape juice, chicken, beef, peanut butter, eggs, spinach, peas and fish. The large majority of human exposure to arsenic is dietary from the food and water people ingest in their daily lives.
In 2004, FMC sponsored a biomonitoring study using urine and toenail samples to test for exposure to inorganic arsenic from soil involving 439 residents in Middleport, including 77 children under the age of seven.
The study was funded by FMC and conducted by Exponent, an independent contractor, with outside review by a panel of health experts from universities, research institutes, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The biomonitoring study found there was no clear evidence of elevated exposure from arsenic in soil for participants. Urinary arsenic levels of individual participants were overall much lower than the reference level for elevated arsenic exposure. Toenail arsenic levels were also below the CDC reference level for normal exposure.
For the past decade, FMC has operated a Community Office in the Village for residents to visit to ask questions and obtain information on the remediation program. Also located in the Community Office at 8 S. Vernon St. is the voluntary FMC Home Value Assurance Program, designed to promote the marketability of eligible homes in the Village.
Current and Future Projects
Under the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), FMC developed a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) in 2011 for specific areas in the village known as Air Deposition Area 1 and Culvert 105. This CMS proposed eight corrective measure alternatives (CMAs) for soil remediation and a recommendation for one in particular that was supported by the local community – called CMA 3 for short.
Subsequently, NYSDEC issued its Final Statement of Basis (FSOB) for remediation of the CMS study areas on May 28, 2013 in which it selected its own alternative, CMA 9 – an alternative that violated the AOC to which NYSDEC was a signatory. Throughout the following year, FMC initiated discussions with the Agencies to advocate for flexibility and to seek a better understanding as to how NYSDEC intended to implement its CMA 9 remedy. Afterwards, FMC determined it needed to take several actions to validate the process defined under the AOC to protect the company’s rights.
FMC first filed a Notice of Dispute and Request for Resolution (NODRR) as prescribed by the AOC, asking USEPA to review the dispute. A second action was filed in U.S. District Court requesting a Declaratory Judgment regarding FMC’s rights under the AOC. A third action was filing a petition with New York State Supreme Court, Albany County, to challenge the NYSDEC’s ability to take steps outside of the AOC process to implement its remedy independently.
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, on October 20, 2016, ruled unanimously that FMC had a right to a hearing prior to NYSDEC’s unilateral decision to implement its remedy. FMC is grateful that the New York Supreme Court ruled on the merits of this case in a manner that ensures FMC’s due process rights.
Since those actions were filed in 2014, NYSDEC initiated and continues to conduct remediation work, without FMC’s participation, on the Royalton-Hartland school property and selected properties in the Air Deposition I and Culvert 105 study areas.
In 2016, FMC was asked by NYSDEC to perform additional investigative activities along two sections in the study area known as “Tributary One and Flood Plain South of Pearson/Stone Roads,” also referred to as “Operable Unit 6 or “OU6.” FMC agreed to perform property surveys, inspections, data collection, soil sampling and analysis for properties south of the Erie Canal, and to collect and evaluate data related to properties north of the Erie Canal.
About the FMC Middleport Website
Through this website, which was launched in June 2013, you can learn more about the history of the Middleport plant, its operations and commitment to safety, the steps taken in the Middleport remediation program, future plans, and opportunities to contact us. This website is regularly monitored and updated to keep you informed on all these efforts.
As you maneuver through the website, you may want to acquaint yourself with the Glossary of Terms to help you understand some of the more technical details concerning the site.
We welcome your comments and questions.