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Superfund Site Report: LOVE CANAL
  • Map Locating Superfund Site
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  • Site Description
    Stage of Clean-up: Construction Completed

    Conditions at listing (October 1981): Love Canal is a 16-acre landfill in the southeast corner of the City of Niagara Falls, New York, about 0.3 mile north of the Niagara River. In the 1890s, a canal was excavated to provide hydroelectric power. Instead, it was later used by Hooker Electrochemical for disposal of over 21,000 tons of various chemical wastes. Dumping ceased in 1952, and in 1953 the disposal area was covered and deeded to the Niagara Falls Board of Education. Extensive development occurred near the site, including construction of an elementary school and numerous homes. Problems with odors and residues, first reported at the site during the 1960s, increased in the 1970s as the water table rose, bringing contaminated ground water to the surface. Studies indicate that numerous toxic chemicals have migrated into surrounding areas. Run-off drains into the Niagara River at a point 2.8 miles upstream of the intake tunnels for Niagara Falls' water treatment plant, which serves about 77,000 people. At this discharge point, the river sediment has also become contaminated. Between 1977 and 1980, New York State and the Federal government spent about $45 million at the site: $30 million for relocation of residents and health testing, $11 million for environmental studies, and $4 million for a demonstration grant (under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) to build a leachate collection and treatment system.  More...

    Sources of Contamination:
    • Discharge to sewer/surface water
    • Dumping - unauthorized
    • Lagoon disposal
    • Landfill
    • Storage - drums/containers of waste
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  • Threats and Contaminants
    The groundwater within the landfill area is contaminated with various VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS). Black and Bergholtz creeks' sediments and the sewer sediments were contaminated with dioxins; however, the sediments containing the contaminants have been removed. The soils in the original Love Canal landfill are contaminated with VOCS, including TOLUENE and xylenes; other organics, including DIOXINS, polycyclic aromatic HYDROCARBONS (PAHS), and pesticides; and, HEAVY METALS, including ARSENIC.

    Contaminants Detected

    Air Soil Other
    BENZENE  X  

    Groundwater and Drinking Water

    Were drinking water wells shut down due to contamination? No data
    Are drinking water wells potentially threatened? No data
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  • Pre-Cleanup Rankings
    EPA Hazard Ranking System scores for LOVE CANAL:

    Less Hazard National Average More Hazard
    0%         50%         100%

    Overall site:
    Surface water migration:
    Air migration:

    Rank Superfund sites in the U.S., NEW YORK, or in NIAGARA County by EPA Hazard Ranking Scores.

    *Note: EPA's Hazard Ranking System is designed to screen and prioritize sites for the Superfund program, based on limited data available at time of listing. These scores are not based on a comprehensive risk assessment of the site and do not reflect conditions after initiation of cleanup work.
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  • Site Information
    Site Name: LOVE CANAL
    EPA ID: NYD000606947
    Address: 96 ST
    Site Ownership: Other
    Category of Site: Chemical Plant
    Date of Final Listing on the NPL: September 08, 1983
    List Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) associated with current and past activities at the LOVE CANAL Superfund site.
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  • Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Involvement
    Number of PRPs currently associated with this site: 0
    Hazardous waste received from off-site generators/transporters? No
    Number of past and present PRPs who contributed less than 1% of the waste: 0
    Number of owners/operators which are also municipalities: 2 - 10

    List Potentially Responsible Parties identified by U.S. EPA as associated with the LOVE CANAL Superfund site.
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