Love Canal Case Study

1307 Words6 Pages
The environmental tragedy that occurred in the small neighborhood of Love Canal in 1978 shocked thousands over the country, affected the lives of hundreds, and became known as one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters in the world. The Love Canal originally began with the idea of being a canal that would generate energy throughout the city. Over the years, the canal gained new ownership through the Hooker Chemical Company and turned the space into a chemical dump site. The company lacked proper maintenance and dumped tons of chemicals that seeped into the new homes of civilians. Exposure of toxic chemicals caused many miscarriages and birth defects in children. Although the section of land has been fenced off, the lasting effects…show more content…
The Hooker Chemical Company dumped over 22,000 toxic chemicals into the canal over the span of 9 years. Chemicals included insecticide, miscellaneous chlorination, and carcinogens such as benzene and dioxin (New York Department of Health, 1981). Hooker had covered the 16-acre land waste with soil and clay and deemed the land safe by its own chemical experts. The company then sold their land for one dollar to the Niagara Falls School Board, preventing the company from any liability and including subtle warnings about the dump within the deed of the property. The Niagara Falls County was desperate for more classroom space and in 1955, built an elementary school and homes around the then waste dump. According to Brook, “Four hundred children began attending the school, as about 100 homes were built in the surrounding areas. Although most of the residents of Niagara Falls knew what the land had been previously used for, they were not cautioned about living on it” (2006). Many residents knew the previous purpose of the land but were never explained the severe effects of being exposed to hazardous chemicals. Once residents moved into the newly built neighborhood of Love Canal, the past still remained to damage the lives of children and…show more content…
An article introducing the proposal of the Love canal clean up stated, “that steps must be taken now to deal with abandoned waste sites…proposed legislation for the Administration-sponsored ‘super fund’ plan that would establish a $1.6 billion fund for hazardous waste cleanups.” (“Congress Maps Legislative Attack on Hazardous Wastes,” 1979). After state and federal agencies spent millions on trying to contribute to the clean up of Love Canal, the government developed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as the ‘Superfund’ (Brook, 2006). The purpose of Superfund is to collect taxes from chemical and gas companies and in return, use the money to clean up any sites such as the Love Canal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Superfund took several steps to clean the site due to its severity of all the toxic chemicals. According to the EPA, the stages included, “landfill containment with leachate collection; treatment and disposal; excavation and treatment of the sewer and creek sediment and other wastes; cleanup of the 93rd Street School soils; the purchase, maintenance and rehabilitation of properties” (2015). In September 2004, the EPA removed Love Canal from the Superfund program’s National Priorities List. The neighborhood has

More about Love Canal Case Study

Open Document