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Love Canal History, Risk, Hydrology, Geology, Hazardous Waste Management & Air Pollution Jess W Everett Rowan University.

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Presentation on theme: "Love Canal History, Risk, Hydrology, Geology, Hazardous Waste Management & Air Pollution Jess W Everett Rowan University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Love Canal History, Risk, Hydrology, Geology, Hazardous Waste Management & Air Pollution Jess W Everett Rowan University

2 L O V E C A N A L

3 Love Canal, ~2006

4 Love Canal, NY, USA Canal turned Municipal Dump turned
Chemical Landfill becomes Health Disaster leads to US Superfund Program Superfund Purpose: clean up uncontrolled contaminated sites Superfund: because it was so big (in the beginning)

5 Love Canal Timeline 1890s 1920s 1953 Niagara Falls, NY
William Love starts hydroelectric project Only completes short section of canal 1920s Canal turned into municipal/industrial dumpsite 1953 Hooker Chemical Company closes dumpsite Sells to city for $1 Eventually turned into neighborhoods & schools… (

6 Love Canal 1927 Aerial Love Canal

7 Love Canal 1978 Aerial Canal is from upper left to lower right.
Bare white spots are where plants won’t grow.

8 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
April, 1978, Newspaper series On hazardous waste problems in Niagara Falls, NY including Love Canal April, 1978, Residents Concerned about health risks from Love Canal, call on local and state health authorities for answers April 25, 1978, NYS Health Commissioner Confirms public health hazard at Love Canal Orders Niagara County Health Department to remove exposed chemicals and install fence April, 1977, Lois Gibbs, resident and mother of two, Canvasses neighborhood with petition to close school located near center of dumpsite Gibbs’ five year old son attended kindergarten in school (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

9 Love Canal - Chemicals Hexachlorocyclohexane, chlorobenzenes, chlorinated hydrocarbons, benzene, chloroform, trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, benzene hexachloride, phosphorous, and polychlorinated biphenyls Dioxin (estimated 60 kg) (

10 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
May 19, 1978, NY State Health Department Meets with residents for first time to explain potential hazards August 2, 1978, Small group of residents Drives to Albany, NY to present petition to close school to NYS Health Department August 2, 1978, NYS Commissioner of Health Declares State of Emergency at Love Canal Orders school closed and clean up plan to be undertaken immediately Recommends pregnant women and children under two living in area immediately surrounding Love Canal landfill should move (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

11 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
August 7, 1978, US President Declares Love Canal neighborhood an emergency Provides funds to permanently relocate 239 families Families in remaining 10-block area, including Lois Gibbs’ family, told they are not at risk February 8, 1979, NYS Department of Health issues 2cd evacuation order Pregnant women and children under age of two in 10 block area outside first evacuation zone of 239 homes should leave Once child turns two years of age or pregnancy terminated, family is to move back into contaminated neighborhood September 8, 1979 300 additional families living within 10 block neighborhood temporarily relocated as a result of health problems caused by chemical exposures from the clean up activities (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

12 (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

13 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
May 17, 1980, US EPA Announces results of blood tests showing chromosome damage in Love Canal residents Residents told that this means they are at increased risk of cancer, reproductive problems and genetic damage May 19, 1980, Love Canal residents “Detain” (hold hostage) two Environmental Protection Agency representatives Challenge US President to relocate all families by Wednesday (May 21st) at noon or “What we’ve done here today, will look like a Sesame Street picnic compared to what we’ll do then” (Lois Gibbs, President of the Love Canal Homeowners Association) (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

14 Health Studies LCHA’s study of ‘79-’80 found increases in
miscarriages, still births, crib deaths, nervous breakdowns, hyperactivity, epilepsy, and urinary tract disorders August, NYS Department of Health awarded $3 million to conduct follow-up health study of families (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

15 Health Studies (cont) 2006 – Preliminary results (Caution – Small data set) Mortality rates about the same Cancer rates Overall lower!, but higher rates of bladder, kidney and lung cancers Bladder and Kidney especially higher amongst those w/ childhood exposure Reproduction More likelihood of having a girl More birth defects (2x higher! but based on small numbers) Mothers living near LC during pregnancy more likely to have premature or small babies; Not so if pregnancy occurred after moving away Love Canal Follow-up Health Study Prepared by the Division of Environmental Health Assessment Center for Environmental Health New York State Department of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 2008 Overall mortality rates were similar to those of NYS and NC, but rates were elevated for certain specific causes of death, compared to NYS: chronic rheumatic heart disease (in men), acute myocardial infarction, and external causes of injury (primarily motor vehicle accidents and suicide). In the internal comparisons, exposure as a child, defined by combination of sex, age and residence, was associated with mortality from cancer and acute myocardial infarction, but these findings were based on small numbers and therefore the estimates were imprecise. For cancer incidence, the results of the external comparisons indicated that the total number of cancers observed among Love Canal residents was within the range expected for NYS and NC. The respiratory and digestive systems were the only major organ systems to show any elevation, and some individual sites such as gall bladder, kidney, bladder, testis, liver and rectum also showed elevations. Due to small numbers, these elevations remained within the range of rates that would be expected by chance. Some of these findings, however, are consistent with other investigations. For instance, excess lung cancer was observed in a previous study of the Love Canal census tract, and kidney, bladder, and other cancers have also been reported among persons occupationally exposed to chlorinated benzenes and aniline compounds such as those found at Love Canal. Reproductive outcomes were examined among the women who lived in the EDA prior to or during their reproductive years. The rates of preterm and small-for-gestational age (SGA) births among these women were similar to those in NYS and NC, and the rates of low (LBW) and very low (VLBW) birth weight tended to be lower. In the internal comparisons, LBW and SGA were consistently associated with potential exposure as a child, defined as a combination of sex, age and residence. The ratio of female to male births among these women was higher than in either comparison population; in the internal comparisons, the proportion of female births was positively associated with childhood exposure and with conception in the EDA. Such an effect has been reported among men heavily exposed to dioxins at Seveso, Italy. Rates of congenital malformations were twice that expected compared to the external standard populations, a difference that exceeded the range of rates expected by chance alone. In addition, the internal comparisons revealed that malformations were positively associated with potential exposure as a child. There also was a tendency for children born to mothers who lived on the Canal at some time during their pregnancy to be at higher risk for low birth weight, preterm births and small-for-gestational age than those conceived after the mother left the Canal area. Similarly, children conceived on the Canal were more likely

16 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
May 21, 1980, US President Agrees to evacuate all Love Canal families temporarily until permanent relocation funds are secured October 1, 1980, President Carter Visits Niagara Falls & signs appropriation bill providing funding for permanent relocation for all 900 families who wished to leave December 20, 1983, Lawsuit filed by 1328 Love Canal residents Settle for ~ $20M dollars with Occidental Chemical $1M set aside for Medical Trust Fund (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

17 Love Canal 1980 Aerial Taken from almost directly over Love Canal

18 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
September 1988, NYS Department of Health Completes 5 year Habitability Study Concludes some portions of Love Canal “as habitable as other areas of Niagara Falls” September 15, 1989, People from across US Join former Love Canal residents at NY capitol to protest decision to move new families back to Love Canal January 19, 1990, Lois Gibbs and others Meet with E.P.A. Administrator in attempt to block resettlement of northern portion of Love Canal (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

19 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
April 1, Community leaders from across state/nation & one-time residents of Love Canal Hold major rally in Niagara Falls to protest resettlement August 15, 1990, Love Canal Revitalization Agency Renames portion of Love Canal, Black Creek Village Announces 9 homes available for sale to general public November 28, 1990, First new family moves into Love Canal, but further efforts to sell homes move slowly Regional banks unwilling to accept mortgages for Love Canal homes (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

20 Love Canal Timeline (continued)
April, 1992, Federal Housing Administration Agrees to provide mortgage insurance to families who wish to purchase Love Canal homes June 22, 1994, Occidental Petroleum Agrees to pay $98 million to cover New York State’s cleanup costs January 5, 1995, Occidental Chemical Takes over full operations and maintenance of chemical waste treatment plant at Love Canal. December 22, Occidental Petroleum agrees to pay $129 million to cover the federal government’s cleanup costs at Love Canal. = $247M (Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

21 Love Canal, ~2006

22 Love Canal, ~2008

23 Love Canal 2011

24 Love Canal – Initial Engineering
Original Dump Site Hooker Chemical followed then law Lined dump with concrete Capped it with porcelain and clay Tried to keep city from building on site Probably would have failed eventually even if left alone Damaged by various building activities, including sewer construction (

25 Love Canal 1978 Aerial Canal is from upper left to lower right

26 Love Canal - Exposure Water table in the canal rose and fell, rain infiltrated, creating leachate Leachate moved out through Topsoil to homes built nearby Old stream bed that crossed canal and underground sand layers into the basements of adjacent homes Significant health impacts in families Living near site, or On old stream beds near site (

27 Love Canal – Cap and Collect
(Love Canal, Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

28 Love Canal – Site Remedation
Initial Actions – 1978, NYS Leachate collection system and treatment plant landfill area covered and fenced 1981, EPA Fence around Black Creek Environmental studies Landfill Containment , EPA Barrier drain Leachate collection system Replaced temporary clay cap with synthetic Demolished contaminated houses & school adjacent to Canal More studies Monitoring (4 years later!!!)

29 Love Canal – Site Remediation
1985, NYS 40-acre cap Improved leachate collection New leachate treatment facility Sewers, Creeks, and Berms , EPA ROD Cleaned / inspected sewers (>60k ft) Removed / stored contaminated sediment (>40k cu-yd) Last of sediment thermally destroyed and disposed of in 2000 93rd Street School EPA ROD Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils completed 1992 Demolished school subsequently

30 Love Canal – Site Remediation
Properties Federal government & NYS purchased affected properties Maintained and rehabilitated properties ~ 260 homes have been resold A new senior citizen housing development constructed in habitable section Portion of cap required liner replacement and regrading in 1993 Love Canal deleted from National Priorities List in 2004

31 Love Canal 2011 Toxic chemicals found in sewers in the “habitable” section of Love Canal in Feb. 2011 Center for Health, Environment & Justice, CHEJ

32 Superfund Program - USA
Clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites Started 1980 25 years later construction work complete at 966 (62%) private and federal Superfund sites work underway at additional 422 Still, 1 in 4 Americans live < 5 km from a Superfund site There are thousands of Non-federal sites ( (

33 Superfund and Landfills
Many sites are old municipal landfills that also accepted industrial wastes We need to make sure current and future landfills don’t become dangerous sites… (

34 What are Your Experiences?
Spend a few minutes talking in groups of 3 about waste sites in your hometown or county Landfills or other types Health impacts? Clean up attempts?

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