Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the extent of the environmental remediation program involving the FMC plant in Middleport, NY?
- What is made at FMC’s Middleport Agricultural Sciences Plant?
- How much does FMC’s Middleport plant contribute to the local economy?
- What safety precautions does FMC have in place at the plant?
- What are the health effects associated with elevated levels of arsenic?
- How are people protected from contamination exposure?
- What were the health studies conducted in the past in Middleport?
- Are there other sources of arsenic in Middleport soils besides the FMC plant?
- How long will it take before the Village remediation is completed?
- When will FMC remediate my property?
- Will FMC listen to community input when completing the remediation or are all the remediation plans set in stone?
- Can a property owner refuse remediation?
- Should people buy a house in Middleport with remediation activities planned?
- Can residents sell their house? Will FMC buy their house?
- What else is FMC doing as Middleport’s Valued Neighbor?
- How will the community be kept informed of remediation progress moving forward?
- Is there a place/source I can go to obtain the most accurate information?
What is the extent of the environmental remediation program involving the FMC plant in Middleport, NY?
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).
In 2019, FMC entered into a new Order on Consent and Administrative Settlement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC or the “Agency”) and with the approval of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). This document is the framework for activities related to the remediation of on-site and off-site areas impacted by historical operations at the FMC site in Middleport and to resolve other issues at the site.
What is made at FMC’s Middleport Agricultural Sciences Plant?
FMC formulates agricultural products at the Middleport plant. We combine pesticide active ingredients and inert ingredients, package and ship product to customers. FMC ceased pesticide manufacturing operations at the plant in 1985, and since then has been solely a formulation and packaging facility for FMC products.
FMC’s products significantly help farmers worldwide to produce abundant crops, keep food prices stable and guarantee the availability of certain foods among different populations.
How much does FMC’s Middleport plant contribute to the local economy?
FMC Middleport spends more than $2.25 million in employee wages and benefits; in state, village, town and school district taxes; in purchases of local supplies and services, and in donations to civic and charitable activities. The plant also contributes many volunteer hours and dollars in support of important community services ranging from the United Way and local hospitals to educational scholarships and opportunities promoting area tourism.
What safety precautions does FMC have in place at the plant?
FMC’s core value is safety—for the residents, the public, and all employees, contractors, and project partners. There is nothing more important than the safety of people. FMC is committed to performing its plant operations and the remediation work in a manner that will maximize the safety of people.
Existing environmental permits issued by NYSDEC require FMC compliance with the applicable rules and regulations, including numerous environmental and safety controls (i.e., air emission control filters, secondary containment), inspection/ monitoring/reporting requirements, emergency plans and procedures.
In March 2020, the Agricultural Sciences facility in Middleport celebrated one year as an accident and injury-free workplace without an OSHA recordable
In May 2020, FMC Middleport was one of nine FMC sites honored with a Facility Safety Award from the American Chemistry Council for significant achievements in employee health and safety performance.
What are the health effects associated with elevated levels of arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element. If ingested in large amounts, arsenic acts as a poison. However, because arsenic is naturally present in soil, water and food, all people are exposed to small amounts of arsenic daily in water, food, air, dust, dirt and other materials. For most people, food is the primary source of background arsenic exposure. Adverse health effects are only expected at much higher levels of exposure than those that occur with typical background concentrations in food, water and soil.
How are people protected from contamination exposure?
Since 1972, arsenic has not been used at the FMC facility in Middleport. After all that time, there is no evidence of any health effects in Middleport as a result of the presence of arsenic. Further, based on expert-conducted risk assessments, arsenic levels are within the acceptable range for human health risk for arsenic in soil. These findings are buttressed by the biomonitoring study that found there is no evidence of elevated exposure from arsenic in soil for residents in the Village of Middleport.
What were the health studies conducted in the past in Middleport?
After arsenic is ingested, it is excreted in urine or in hair and nails. Arsenic levels in urine, nails and hair may be used to assess if a group of people have higher arsenic exposures compared with typical exposures from background concentrations of arsenic in diet and drinking water. FMC sponsored a biomonitoring study in 2004 using urine and toenail samples to test for exposure to inorganic arsenic from Middleport soil. Participating in the study were 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 did not find evidence of elevated exposure from arsenic in soil for Middleport 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.
Later, in 2007, in order to understand how much of the arsenic in Middleport soils might be absorbed into the body after exposure, FMC hired Exponent, a nationally regarded engineering and scientific consulting firm, to design and oversee studies aimed at understanding the bioavailability of arsenic from Middleport soils relative to soluble arsenic. Bioavailability is a measure of the fraction of a dose that is absorbed into the body.
Exponent worked with two university research scientists who conducted separate studies on soil arsenic bioavailability. Soil from three locations within Middleport environmental study areas were among the soil used in the studies. Dr. Stephen Roberts, director of the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology at the University of Florida, conducted a study of arsenic absorption after ingestion. Dr. Ronald Wester, a toxicologist at the University of California at San Francisco, conducted a dermal (on the skin) absorption study. These studies were done to see how much arsenic might be absorbed into the body if someone accidentally ingested some soil or if the soil came in contact with the skin.
The Middleport bioavailability studies showed that arsenic will not be readily absorbed into the body from Middleport soil. Oral absorption of arsenic from soil was much lower than expected and dermal absorption was found to be negligible.
Are there other sources of arsenic in Middleport soils besides the FMC plant?
Arsenic is the primary constituent of concern in soil that has and will influence the scope of remedial efforts in the Middleport environmental remediation program. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element present in soil as a result of both geological background and use of man-made products. Prior to the 1940s, arsenical pesticides were broadly used in orchards and some other crops such as cotton and rice throughout the United States. In western New York, there is evidence that suggests that arsenical pesticides were used in some fruit orchards.
Therefore, the local background concentration of arsenic in soil is a key consideration in the delineation of arsenic concentrations which could potentially be attributable to historical releases from the FMC Facility.
How long will it take before the Village remediation is completed?
The 2019 Order on Consent established the following remediation priority for FMC to follow (in order of first to last) in the on-site and off-site areas that have been divided into 11 Operable Units (OUs):
• OU2 residential properties South of the Canal and OU4 (to be completed by NYSDEC in 2019 -2020)
• OU5 north of the Canal
• OU2 seven large parcels [Norco Industrial: 86.17-1-72, 86.17-1-73, 86.17-1-76, 86.17-1-74, 86.17-1-75; Arnold R1a & R1b: 86.00-3-3.11; R1d-vacant: 86.00-3-3.12];
• OU1 & OU10 (final remedial construction will not be completed while FMC Plant is in operation since ongoing ICM controls existing impacts).
When will FMC remediate my property?
This will depend on a number of factors, including study area location and on-going discussions with NYSDEC. Please contact the FMC Community Office in Middleport for further information.
Will FMC listen to community input when completing the remediation or are all the remediation plans set in stone?
The public, including property owners, will have opportunities to comment after completion of reports on RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI), Corrective Measure Study (CMS) and the Statement of Basis (or remedy decision) for each of the study areas. The NYSDEC will consider public comments in making final decisions or approvals of the RFI, CMS and remedy decisions.
FMC is committed to working with affected property owners and community leaders to complete the remediation with the least disruption possible in order to maintain the quality of life in the Village of Middleport.
Can a property owner refuse remediation?
Yes, property owners have the right to refuse remediation. However, under the 2019 Order on Consent, FMC is required to offer remediation to owners that refused remediation annually for five years after NYSDEC has approved a construction completion report for the OU.
Should people buy a house in Middleport with remediation activities planned?
Yes. FMC is committed to working with you and community leaders to complete the remediation with the least disruption possible in order to maintain the quality of life in the Village of Middleport.
Can residents sell their house? Will FMC buy their house?
According to local real estate professionals, the housing market in Middleport has remained fairly consistent over the past several years when compared to the surrounding communities of Gasport, Medina, Lockport, Barker, and Newfane. The Middleport market is attractive to first-time buyers looking for an affordable home, to young families looking for a good school system, and to retirees looking for a safe, quiet environment to spend their golden years.
While MLS data has shown that property prices for residential properties within the study areas have been comparable to those in neighboring communities in recent years, FMC has voluntarily conducted a Home Value Assurance program to assist eligible property owners selling their residential properties in getting fair market value for their homes. View our Home Value Assurance Program.
The HVA promotes the marketability of Middleport residential homes that have soil sampling data and have been identified for possible remediation. The Home Value Assurance Program does not include home purchase by FMC.
Contact Brittany Russo at the FMC Home Value Assurance office at 8 S. Vernon St. in Middleport on Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or call her at 735-9769 to schedule an appointment.
What else is FMC doing as Middleport’s Valued Neighbor?
FMC has always been an active member of the Middleport community, sharing connections through both our business operations and through support of our schools, library, local service clubs, emergency responders, community programs and by addressing concerns.
Examples of this support include FMC’s donations through the years of equipment, training programs and/or funds to beautify and promote the Village, keep library programs running, respond to concerns related to FMC’s environmental program, help train local emergency responders and inform neighbors about the FMC Middleport plant, and longtime investments in the Middleport local economy.
How will the community be kept informed of remediation progress moving forward?
FMC has maintained a Community Office in the Village of Middleport for more than a decade for residents to visit or contact for information and answers to any questions on the environmental remediation process. Periodic availability sessions are also planned for residents at the FMC Middleport Community Office at 8 S. Vernon St. in Middleport, phone: (716) 735- 9769.
FMC also informs Middleport residents about the environmental program and plant activities through the Community Office and through its website, FMC- Middleport.com.
Please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Heideman, FMC Middleport Community Liaison, if you have any questions and/or concerns. Jessica can be reached by telephone at 716-735-9769 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the FMC Community Office at 8 S. Vernon Street in Middleport. Our walk-in hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays; other times are available by appointment.
Is there a place/source I can go to obtain the most accurate information?
To view documents related to environmental activities at the FMC plant, visit the FMC document repository on the second floor of the Royalton Hartland Community Library at 9 South Vernon Street in Middleport.
Documents are also available at FMC’s Community Office at 8 S. Vernon St. in Middleport, at www.FMC-Middleport.com website, or through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ‘s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/54220.html