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Encyclopedia > Love Canal

Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, United States of America (USA). It officially covers 36 square blocks in the far southeastern corner of the city, along 99th Street and Read Avenue. Two bodies of water define the northern and southern boundaries of the neighborhood: Bergholtz Creek to the north and the Niagara River one-quarter mile (400 m) to the south. A neighbourhood or neighborhood (see spelling differences) is a geographically localised community located within a larger city or suburb. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... “NY” redirects here. ... Satellite image of the Niagara River. ...

Contents

Early history

The name Love Canal came from the last name of William T. Love, who in the early 1890s envisioned a canal connecting the two levels of Niagara River separated by the Niagara Falls. He believed it would serve the area's burgeoning industries with much needed hydroelectricity. After 1892, Love's plan changed to incorporate a shipping lane that would bypass the Niagara Falls. At that time, the only means of delivering electricity was by using direct current. This method ultimately failed as its practicality was no longer valid. Only one mile (1.6 km) of the canal, about fifteen feet wide and ten feet deep, stretching northward from the Niagara River, was ever dug. (For one solution to the falls trans-shipment problem, see Welland Canal.) Satellite image of the Niagara River. ... Niagara Falls (French: ) is a set of massive waterfalls located on the Niagara River, straddling the international border separating the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. ... Hydroelectricity is the worlds leading renewable energy source. ... Direct current (DC or continuous current) is the continuous flow of electricity through a conductor such as a wire from high to low potential. ... A ship transits the Welland Canal, with the Homer Lift Bridge and Garden City Skyway in background. ...


Use as toxic waste disposal site

In 1920, Love's land was sold in public auction to the City of Niagara Falls, who used the undeveloped area as a landfill for chemical waste disposal. At the time, the canal was an ideal site for this purpose; the ground was largely impermeable clay, and the surrounding area was sparsely populated. Albury landfill, Surrey, England A landfill, also known as a dump, is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment. ...


In 1942, Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation ( which became a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum in 1968) expanded use of the site, and, by 1947, acquired the land for private use. In the subsequent five year period, the company buried about 22,000 tons of toxic waste in the area.[1] Once the site had been filled to capacity in 1952, Hooker closed the site, back-filled the canal, and covered it with four feet of clay. Oxy headquarters in Westwood, CA Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) NYSE: OXY is an international petroleum exploration and development company headquartered in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. ... Toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. ...


The Love Canal disaster

Sale of the site

At the time of the closure, Niagara Falls' population had begun to expand. The local school board was desperate for land, and attempted to purchase an area of expensive property from Hooker Chemical that had not yet been used to bury toxic waste. The corporation refused to sell on the grounds of safety, and took members of the school board to the canal and drilled several bore holes through the clay, showing that there were toxic chemicals below the surface. However, the board refused to capitulate.[2] Eventually, faced with the property being condemned and/or expropriated, Hooker Chemical agreed to sell on the condition that the board buy the entire property for one dollar. In the agreement, Hooker included a seventeen line caveat that explained the dangers of building on the site: Caveat, the third-person singular present subjunctive of the Latin cavere, means warning (or more literally, let him beware); it can be shorthand for Latin phrases such as Caveat lector Caveat emptor Caveat venditor More narrowly, caveat can also refer to CAVEAT, a Canadian lobby group; The Paulette Caveat about...

Prior to the delivery of this instrument of conveyance, the grantee herein has been advised by the grantor that the premises above described have been filled, in whole or in part, to the present grade level thereof with waste products resulting from the manufacturing of chemicals by the grantor at its plant in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and the grantee assumes all risk and liability incident to the use thereof. It is therefore understood and agreed that, as a part of the consideration for this conveyance and as a condition thereof, no claim, suit, action or demand of any nature whatsoever shall ever be made by the grantee, its successors or assigns, against the grantor, its successors or assigns, for injury to a person or persons, including death resulting therefrom, or loss of or damage to property caused by, in connection with or by reason of the presence of said industrial wastes. It is further agreed as a condition hereof that each subsequent conveyance of the aforesaid lands shall be made subject to the foregoing provisions and conditions.[3]

Construction of the 99th Street School

Shortly thereafter, the board began construction on the 99th Street School in its originally intended location. However, the building site was forced to relocate when contractors unearthed two pits filled with chemicals. The new location was directly on top of the former landfill, and during construction, contractors broke through the clay seal that Hooker had installed to contain the chemical waste.


In 1957, the City of Niagara Falls constructed sewers for a mixture of low-income and single family residences to be built on lands adjacent to the landfill site. During construction of the gravel sewer beds, the clay seal was broken again, the walls of the canal were breached, and chemicals seeped from the canal. The construction of the LaSalle Expressway restricted groundwater from flowing to the Niagara River. Following the wet winter and spring of 1977, the elevated expressway turned the breached canal into an overflowing pool.


Health problems, activism, and site cleanup

A protest by Love Canal residents, ca. 1978.
A protest by Love Canal residents, ca. 1978.

In 1978, Lois Gibbs, a local mother and president of the Love Canal Homeowners' Association, began to wonder if her children's recurring epilepsy, asthma, and urinary tract infections[4] were connected to their exposure to leaking chemical waste. Gibbs later discovered that her neighborhood sat on top of 21,000 tons of buried chemical waste, the now infamous Love Canal.[5] Image File history File links Love_Canal_protest. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... Lois Gibbs (born 1952) is an environmental activist whose involvement in environmental causes began in 1978, when she discovered that her 7-year-old sons elementary school in Niagara Falls, New York was built on a toxic waste dump. ...


In the following years, Gibbs led an effort to investigate community concerns about the health of its residents; she and other residents made repeated complaints of strange odors and "substances" that surfaced in their yards. City officials were brought to investigate the area, but did not act to solve the problem.


According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979, residents exhibited a "disturbingly high rate of miscarriages...Love Canal can now be added to a growing list of environmental disasters involving toxics, ranging from industrial workers stricken by nervous disorders and cancers to the discovery of toxic materials in the milk of nursing mothers." In one case, two out of four children in a single Love Canal family had birth defects; one girl was born deaf with a cleft palate, an extra row of teeth, and slight retardation, and a boy was born with an eye defect.[6] A survey conducted by the Love Canal Homeowners Association found that 56% of the children born from 1974-1978 had a birth defect.[7] EPA redirects here. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ...


With further investigation, Gibbs discovered the chemical danger of the adjacent canal. This began her organization's three year fight to prove that the toxins buried by Hooker Chemical were responsible for the health problems of local residents. Throughout the ordeal, homeowners' concerns were ignored not only by Hooker Chemical (now Occidental Petroleum), but also members of government. These opponents argued the area's endemic health problems were unrelated to the toxic chemicals buried in the canal. They believed the chemicals had been successfully contained within the former landfill. Since the residents could not prove the chemicals on their property had come from Hooker's disposal site, they could not prove liability. Throughout the legal battle, residents were unable to sell their properties and move away. Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) NYSE: OXY is an international petroleum exploration and development company headquartered in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. ... Oxy headquarters in Westwood, CA Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) NYSE: OXY is an international petroleum exploration and development company headquartered in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. ...


The 99th Street School, on the other hand, was located within the former boundary of the Hooker Chemical landfill site. The school was closed and demolished, but both the school board and the chemical company refused to accept liability.


State of emergency

The lack of public interest in Love Canal made matters worse for the homeowners' association, which now battled two organizations spending vast amounts of money to disprove negligence. Initially, members of the organization had been frustrated by the lack of a public entity that could advise and defend them. Gibbs met with considerable public resistance from residents within the community: the mostly middle-class families did not have the resources to protect themselves, and many did not see any alternative other than abandoning their homes at a loss.


By 1978, Love Canal had become a national media event with articles referring to the neighborhood as "a public health time bomb," and "one of the most appalling environmental tragedies in American history."[6] On August 7, 1978, United States President Jimmy Carter declared a federal emergency at Love Canal, and those living closest to the site were relocated.[8] is the 219th day of the year (220th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... James Earl Jimmy Carter, Jr. ...


At first, scientific studies did not conclusively prove that the chemicals were responsible for the residents' illnesses, and scientists were divided on the issue, even though eleven known or suspected carcinogens had been identified, one of the most prevalent being benzene. Geologists were recruited to determine whether underground swales were responsible for carrying the chemicals to the surrounding residential areas. Once there, they explained, chemicals could leach into basements and evaporate into household air. In pathology, a carcinogen is any substance or agent that promotes cancer. ... Benzene is an organic chemical compound with the formula C6H6. ... A swale is low tract of land, especially when moist or marshy. ...


In 1979, the EPA announced the result of blood tests that showed high white blood cell counts, a precursor to Leukemia,[6], and chromosome damage in Love Canal residents. Other studies were unable to find harm.[9][10][11][12][13] The National Research Council surveyed Love Canal health studies in 1991[14] New York State also has an ongoing health study of Love Canal residents.[15] Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ...



After growing evidence and two years' effort by Lois Gibbs and other residents, President Carter declared a state of emergency at Love Canal on May 21, 1980, and the EPA agreed to evacuate 700 families temporarily.[16] Eventually, the government relocated more than 800 families and reimbursed them for their homes, and the United States Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or the Superfund Act, that holds polluters accountable for their damages. In 1994, Federal District Judge John Curtin ruled that Hooker/Occidental had been negligent, but not reckless, in its handling of the waste and sale of the land to the Niagara Falls School Board.[17] Curtin's decision also contains a detailed history of events leading up to the Love Canal disaster. Occidental Petroleum was sued by the EPA and in 1995 agreed to pay $129 million in restitution.[18] The cleanup of the site was investigated, designed, and overseen by the environmental consulting firm Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. May 21 is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political... Checking the status of a cleanup site CERCLA is an acronym for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 to 9675 (commonly known as the Superfund), which was enacted by the United States Congress on December 11, 1980 in response to the Love Canal... Checking the status of a cleanup site Superfund is the common name for the United States environmental law that is officially known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 to 9675, which was enacted by the United States Congress on December 11... Oxy headquarters in Westwood, CA Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) NYSE: OXY is an international petroleum exploration and development company headquartered in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. ... Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA) is a international engineering firm. ... , Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, and is adjacent to the larger city of Kitchener. ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin: Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor James K. Bartleman - Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 106 - Senate seats 24 Confederation July 1, 1867 (1st) Area [1] Ranked...


Aftermath

Today, houses in the residential areas on the east and west sides of the canal have been demolished. All that is left on the west side are abandoned residential streets. Some older east side residents, whose houses stand alone in the demolished neighborhood, chose to stay.


Though the containment area is still enforced, new development began in the early 1990s. Recreational buildings have been built against a chain-link fence that keeps the toxic area separated from the safe area. The neighborhood has been renamed Black Creek Village, and many families now live there.


Love Canal, along with Times Beach, Missouri, share a special place in United States environmental history as the two sites that in large part lead to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). CERCLA is much more commonly referred to as "Superfund" because of the fund established within the act to help the clean-up of locations like Love Canal. Times Beach, Missouri was a small town of 2,240 residents in St. ...


In literature

The Love Canal disaster forms a major plot strand in 'Joyce Carol Oates' 2004 novel The Falls. The disaster also appears in Lois Gibbs' Biographies, Love Canal: My story, and Love Canal: The Story Continues. Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American author and the Roger S. Berlind 52 Professor in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1978 ([1]). She serves as associate editor for the Ontario Review, a literary magazine, and... The Falls is a 1980 film directed by Peter Greenaway. ... Lois Gibbs (born 1952) is an environmental activist whose involvement in environmental causes began in 1978, when she discovered that her 7-year-old sons elementary school in Niagara Falls, New York was built on a toxic waste dump. ...


In the film Tootsie, the character played by Bill Murray has written a play called Return to Love Canal, and Dustin Hoffman's character dresses as a woman in order to fund the play (and his subsequent job in the play), leading Sydney Pollack's character to comment "Nobody wants to pay twenty dollars to watch people living next to chemical waste! They can see that in New Jersey!" George Fields and Dorothy Michaels at the Russian Tea Room Tootsie is a 1982 comedy film, which tells the story of a talented, but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult makes him unemployable. ... William James Bill Murray (b. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Sydney Pollack (born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana) is an American actor, producer, and director. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Area  Ranked 47th  - Total 8,729 sq mi (22,608 km²)  - Width 70 miles (110 km)  - Length 150 miles (240 km)  - % water 14. ...


References

  1. ^ Love Canal @ 25. University of Buffalo Libraries. Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
  2. ^ Zuesse, Eric (February 1981). Love Canal: The Truth Seeps Out. Reason Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
  3. ^ Zuesse, Eric (February 1981). Love Canal: The Truth Seeps Out. Reason Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
  4. ^ Heroism Project - Lois Gibbs
  5. ^ Goldman Environmental Prize - Lois Gibbs
  6. ^ a b c The Love Canal Tragedy
  7. ^ New Protections and Newly Discovered Threats
  8. ^ Love Canal Collection. University of Buffalo Libraries. Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
  9. ^ Cancer incidence in the Love Canal area. Science, v. 212, June 19, 1981: 1404-1407. "Data from the New York Cancer Registry show no evidence for higher cancer rates associated with residence near the Love Canal toxic waste burial site in comparison with the entire state outside of New York City."
  10. ^ Ember, Lois R. Uncertain science pushes Love Canal solutions to political, legal arenas. Chemical & Engineering News, v. 58, Aug. 11, 1980: 22-29. Relates the chronology of Hooker Chemical Company and the discovery of toxic chemicals at Love Canal and describes the medical research on the former residents to determine the health effects.
  11. ^ Maugh, Thomas H., 11. Health effects of exposure to toxic wastes. Science, v. 215, Jan. 29, 1982: 490-493; Feb. 5: 643-647. This two-part series first addresses the question "Just how hazardous are dumps?" and then, in "Biological markers for chemical exposure," suggests that alterations in chromosomes indicate exposure but that long term studies will be necessary to determine the severity of effects of health.
  12. ^ The Risks of living near Love Canal. Science, v . 212, Aug. 27, 1982: 808-809, 811. "Controversy and confusion follow a report that the Love Canal area is no more hazardous than areas elsewhere in Niagara Falls."
  13. ^ [1] Congressional Research Service, Report No. 83-160 L, LIABILITY FOR INJURY RESULTING FROM THE DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS WASTE: Preliminary Bibliography on the 1983-1984, Intercollegiate Debate Resolution, August 12, 1983
  14. ^ National Research Council, Committee on Environmental Epidemiology, Environmental Epidemiology, vol. 1: Public Health and Hazardous Wastes (Washington: National Academy Press, 1991)
  15. ^ [url = http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/investigations/love_canal/]
  16. ^ EPA, New York State Announce Temporary Relocation of Love Canal Residents. Envoirnmental Protection Agency (May 21, 1980). Retrieved on 2007-=02-03.
  17. ^ U.S. v. Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corp., 850 Federal Supplement, 993 (W.D.N.Y., 1994)
  18. ^ Occidental to pay $129 Million in Love Canal Settelment. U.S. Department of Justice (December 21, 1995). Retrieved on 2007-02-03.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... May 21 is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

William Ginsberg (1930-2006) was an attorney, environmentalist, author and professor of environmental law. ... Spring Valley is an upper class neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C. The neighborhood is situated west from American Universitys main campus on Massachusetts Avenue. ...

External links

Coordinates: 43°4′50″N, 78°57′7″W The libertarian Reason Magazine dedicated an issue to Ayn Rands influence one hundred years after her birth. ... Lois Gibbs (born 1952) is an environmental activist whose involvement in environmental causes began in 1978, when she discovered that her 7-year-old sons elementary school in Niagara Falls, New York was built on a toxic waste dump. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...

  • Former Domtar Mill site, Cornwall, ON New Love Canal
  • Berton, Pierre Niagara: A History of the Falls, Koidenesha America, 1997

  Results from FactBites:
 
Love [email protected] (1244 words)
In 1896 William Love began construction on a canal connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that bypassed Niagara Falls to be used to generate hydroelectric power.
In 1953 the company was approached by the city to "donate" the land on Love Canal for a new school (it stands abandoned, the 93rd Street School).
By 1977 the dangers were obvious and Love Canal was a disaster area as chemical odors filled the Love Canal neighborhood.
The Love Canal Tragedy | EPA History | US EPA (1452 words)
Love felt that by digging a short canal between the upper and lower Niagara Rivers, power could be generated cheaply to fuel the industry and homes of his would-be model city.
When the citizens of Love Canal were finally evacuated from their homes and their neighborhood, pregnant women and infants were deliberately among the first to be taken out.
Love Canal can now be added to a growing list of environmental disasters involving toxics, ranging from industrial workers stricken by nervous disorders and cancers to the discovery of toxic materials in the milk of nursing mothers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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