Background Information on the Love Canal

Background Information
Love Canal is probably the country's most notorious and infamous hazardous waste site. It wasn't the first. It wasn't the worst. But it did grab headlines, draw attention, and stimulate scientists, industrial leaders, politicians, government officials, and grassroots activists.
The Love Canal neighborhood is in the southeast section of the La Salle area of Niagara Falls, New York. William T. Love, an 1890's visionary and entrepreneur, sought to develop a planned industrial community, Model City, in the area. Waters from the Niagara River were to be routed around the Niagara escarpment (the other famous attraction of the region, Niagara Falls) to produce cheap hydroelectric power.
Model City never happened, but work on the canal to transport waters from the Niagara River did. In 1942, Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corporation purchased the site of the Love Canal. Between 1942 and 1953 Hooker Chemical disposed of about 22,000 tons of mixed chemical wastes into the Love Canal. Shortly after Hooker ceased use of the site, the land was sold to the Niagara Falls School Board for a price of $1.00. In 1955, the 99th Street Elementary School was constructed on the Love Canal property and opened its doors to students. Subsequent development of the area would see hundreds of families take up residence in the suburban, blue-collar neighborhood of the Love Canal.
Unusually heavy rain and snowfalls in 1975 and 1976 provided high groundwater levels in the Love Canal area. Portions of the Hooker landfill subsided, 55-gallon drums surfaced, ponds and other surface water area became contaminated, basements began to ooze an oily residue, and noxious chemical odors permeated the area. Physical evidence of chemical corrosion of sump pumps and infiltration of basement cinderblock walls was apparent. Subsequent studies by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry would reveal a laundry list of 421 chemical records for air, water, and soil samples...