In New York, about four miles south of Niagara Falls, there was a canal that was not completely finished. William T. Love had a dream that creating a canal would generate electricity at a low cost, so work began on digging the canal. The project was abandoned and the canal was later used for a chemical waste dump (EPA). Between 1942 and 1953, Hooker Chemical Company buried over 21,000 tons of deadly chemical waste in the canal (Geneseo). In 1953, the Hooker Chemical Company covered the land with a clay cap and it was sold to the city for one dollar (EPA).
Houses were built and families moved in to the area. A community began to take shape directly on top of the chemical waste site, including a public elementary school, roads, and sewer lines. In the 1970s, residents began to notice a bubbling sludge coming up from the ground. When it began flooding their basements they contacted the city (SIRS).
In 1978, triggered by an abnormally large amount of rainfall, the Love Canal exploded and released chemical waste. After the explosion there were drain pipes exposed and coming up out of the ground, swimming pools popped out of their foundation, and gardens became black and dead. Children came home from playing with burns on their hands and faces (EPA).
Investigative newspapers discovered an increasing rate of birth defects (56% of children), miscarriages, and illnesses such as asthma, epilepsy, migraines, cancer and more (Geneseo). After realizing the intensity of the chemical waste, 239 families were relocated. The cost of relocating all 239 families was approximately 17 million dollars.