Love Canal litigation ends but pollution clean-up continues

A settlement has been reached in the last court case involving four Superfund waste sites in the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls, NY. Occidental Chemical Corporation and Olin Corporation will pay the US federal government $6 million in reimbursement for the clean-up of the 102nd Street landfill site.

In addition to the $6 million payment, the two firms will also reimburse the State of New York $610,000, pay $500,000 for natural resources damage and undertake two wetlands restoration projects along the Niagara River.

The fines relate to the two companies’ dumping of 150,000 tons of liquid and solid waste at the 102nd Street landfill site. The waste included:

  • benzene
  • chlorobenzene
  • chlorophenols
  • hexachlorocyclohexanes.

The 102nd Street landfill site borders the Niagara River and is less than one-quarter of a mile south of the Love Canal Superfund site.

The Love Canal toxics scandal began in 1952 when Occidental’s predecessor, the Hooker Chemical Company, began to dump chemicals into the abandoned canal. In 1977, residents complained of chemicals seeping into their basements, and more than 1,000 homes and a school were evacuated.

In 1994, Occidental agreed to pay the State of New York $98 million to cover the clean-up costs of the Love Canal site and in 1995 it agreed to pay the US federal government $129 million for costs.

The 102nd Street landfill site agreement is the final settlement involving the area surrounding Love Canal. Last spring, Occidental and Olin built a wall around the 102nd Street site and constructed a system to remove and treat the polluted groundwater within it.

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