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Love Canal
Niagara Falls, NY

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Love Canal: 30 Years Later

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Involvement Coordinator

Michael Basile (716) 551-4410

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EPA added the Love Canal site in the City of Niagara Falls, New York to the Superfund National Priorities List on September 1, 1983 because hazardous chemicals were found in the soil and ground water.  The fenced 70-acre superfund site consists of the original 16-acre hazardous waste landfill and a 40-acre cap, as well as a drainage system and leachate collection and treatment system that are in place and operating.    

In 1942, the property was used by Hooker Electrochemical (Hooker Chemicals and Plastics) for disposal of over 21,000 tons of various chemical wastes, including pesticides and dioxin. Dumping ceased in 1952, and in 1953, the landfill was covered and leased to the Niagara Falls Board of Education (NFBE).  Afterwards, the area near the covered landfill was extensively developed, including the construction of an elementary school and many homes. 

Complaints about odors and residues were first reported at the site during the 1960’s, and increased in the 1970’s as the water level rose, bringing contaminated ground water to the surface.  Studies indicated that numerous toxic chemicals migrated into surrounding areas.  Runoff drained into the Niagara River, contaminating the river sediment.  Dioxin and other contaminants migrated from the landfill to the existing sewers, which drained into nearby creeks. 

Approximately 950 families were evacuated from a 10-square-block area surrounding the landfill.  The contamination at the site ultimately led to the passage of Federal Superfund legislation.

Due to the extent of the contamination at Love Canal, the site was addressed in several stages focusing on: 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, and other short term cleanup actions. 

The site does not present a threat to human health and the environment.  EPA deleted Love Canal from the Superfund National Priorities List on September 30, 2004.  As a result of the revitalization efforts of the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency, new homeowners have repopulated the habitable areas of the Love Canal.  More than 260 formerly-abandoned homes in the affected area were rehabilitated and sold to new residents, creating a viable new neighborhood.


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