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New York State and U.S. EPA Sign $7 Million Love Canal Cleanup Agreement

[EPA press release - July 15, 1982]

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have signed a cooperative agreement to undertake additional cleanup work at the former chemical waste disposal site known as Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The agreement commits $7 million from the federal "Superfund" program to carry out the work.

In announcing the agreement, Anne M. Gorsuch, Administrator, said: "I am pleased to take part in this significant new step in the long cooperative effort by EPA and DEC to control the Love Canal problem."

Mrs. Gorsuch noted that the work to be carried out under the new agreement will be based on the findings of EPA's 1980 monitoring study of the former canal neighborhood. These findings were announced earlier this week.

DEC Commissioner Robert Flacke noted that the EPA study confirms the effectiveness of the leachate collection system installed at Love Canal. "Under today's agreement," he added, "we will be able to begin the additional work needed to complete the cleanup."

According to the agreement, New York State will take the lead role in the performance of the remaining work.

The cooperative agreement lists the following tasks:

Task Anticipated Start Estimated Time (Mo.)
1. Cutoff utility lines and install expanded cap 9/82 3
2. Extended site containment 4/83 6

The following are initial phase projects:

Task Anticipated Start Estimated Time (Mo.)
3. North end storm and sanitary sewer cleanup 8/82 3
4. Black and Bergholtz Creek cleanup 8/82 3
5. South end sewer cleanup 11/82 3
6. Delta area cleanup at 102nd Street 11/82 3
7. Cleanup for lift stations and sanitary sewers west of the site 4/83 3

The nature of the additional cleanup work needed for the sewers and creeks will be defined by the feasibility studies. Ground water monitoring will be maintained in the Love Canal area to ensure that these actions are adequately protecting public health and the environment.

Following disaster declarations at both state and federal levels in 1978, DEC and EPA installed a control system at Love Canal. It consisted of a tile drain system surrounding the former canal to lower the water table, to intercept laterally migrating contaminants, and to draw back contaminants that may have already migrated past the drain. A treatment system to collect and treat the leachate was also installed, as was a clay cover over the former canal.

The EPA monitoring study, which was carried out during the fall of 1980, found that the clay cap and barrier system were working. That is, the outward flow of chemicals has been stopped; the direction of near-surface ground water flow has been reversed back into the drains and is being treated in the on-site treatment plant.

The study also found, however, that local storm sewer lines near the former canal, as well as surface and sediments of creeks and the Niagara River near the outfalls of these sewers, are contaminated.