Q:

What happened at Love Canal?

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Quick Answer

Hundreds of families were forced to sell their homes at Love Canal, a former chemical dumping site, due to chemical toxins that pushed their way to the earth's surface, making the area uninhabitable, according to Time. Love Canal was a three-block neighborhood east of Niagara Falls, New York.

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Full Answer

Love Canal, named for William Love, the man who first conceptualized a model community there, originally began as a way of more efficiently generating power using water as a conductor, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Before the canal project was completed in the early 20th century, another more efficient method of transferring power was discovered and the project was abandoned. The site of Love Canal was eventually purchased by Hooker Chemical Co., which used it as a dumping ground before re-covering it with dirt and selling it to the city of Niagara Falls in 1953. The city built houses and a school on the property. In 1978, however, the chemicals made their way to the surface and all the residents in the area were forced to sell their homes to the government and move. The Superfund program, which helps fund the cleanup of toxic waste, was devised as a result of the Love Canal incident.

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