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Last stages of Love Canal cleanup.

Last stage of Love Canal cleanup

Ten years ago, groundwater contaminated with dioxin and other toxins from the Love Canal chemical-disposal site seeped into the basements of Niagara Falls, N.Y., homes and brought the hazards of poorly managed industrial wastes to the national consciousness. Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided how to go about its final phase of the Love Canal cleanup.

The agency has announced that it plans to incinerate contaminated sediments dredged from Love Canal sewers and creeks and then to deposit the nontoxic residue at the Love Canal site. According to J. Winston Porter, EPA's assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response, about 35,000 cubic yards of sediment will probably be treated, making this the largest-scale application ever of the "thermal destruction' technique.

EPA estimates that the program will take about five years and will cost $26 million to $31 million. Federal and state officials have already spent about $200 million for the Love Canal cleanup and for the relocation of about 1,000 families that had been living in the area.

EPA had proposed earlier to burn only a portion of the contaminated soils and to store the rest at the site in a 25-foot-high facility the size of three football fields. But engineering problems, coupled with strong lobbying efforts from environmental and other groups, persuaded EPA officials to alter their plans.

Porter says that a fenced area enclosing 20 to 30 acres around the disposal site will probably remain uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. "But outside that immediate contained area,' he says, "we're certainly hopeful that people can eventually live there.' New York state will decide on the habitability of this region next year.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 14, 1987
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