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Case Study of the Love Canal Environmental Disaster

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Case Study of the Love Canal Environmental Disaster
Phillip Voliva
ENV/410
March 23, 2014
Alicia Holloway

Case Study of the Love Canal Environmental Disaster
In May of 1892 a man named William T. Love arrived in Niagara Falls with a long-held dream of building a carefully planned industrial city with convenient access to inexpensive water power and major markets. The plan included the construction of a navigable power canal between the upper and lower Niagara Rivers which would service a massive industrial complex. The transportation of water would be supplied by the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. However, due to the country suddenly finding itself in the middle of a full-scale economic depression and the fact that Louis Tesla had just discovered a way to transmit electrical power economically over great distances by means of an alternating current, Love's project was dealt a death blow. His backers deserted him and the whole project fell apart, with the land being sold at public auction in 1910 (Whalen, 1978). In the 1920's the excavation became a chemical and municipal disposal site for several chemical companies and the City of Niagara Falls. Chemicals of unknown kind and quantity were buried at the site up until 1953, after which, the site was covered with earth. Soon, about 100 homes were built, along with an elementary school, on top of this toxic waste dump. The effects of the pit's contents soon began to be felt. Strange odors and substances were reported by residents, especially those with basements. Pieces of phosphorus made their way to the surface and children playing in the schoolyard came home burned by toxic waste. In 1976, heavy rains and a bad blizzard caused a large amount of waste to rise to the surface, where it contaminated the entire neighborhood (Brook, 2006). Brook (2006), "In the following years the area was stricken with...

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