As defined in Environmental Science: A Global Concern, “A hazardous waste is any discarded material, liquid or solid, that contains substances known to be (1) fatal to humans or laboratory animals in low doses, (2) toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic to humans or other life forms, (3) ignitable with a flash point less than 60 degrees Celsius, (4) corrosive, or (5) explosive or highly reactive.”
Image and description source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/popup?id=5548326&contentIndex=1&start=false&page=12 “ Mark Zanatian, one of the children endangered by the Love Canal chemical spill waves a banner in protest during a neighborhood protest meeting on Aug. 5, 1978.”
According to Environmental Science: A Global Concern, the Superfund is “a revolving pool designed to (1) provide an immediate response to emergency situations that pose imminent hazards, and (2) to clean up or remediate abandoned or inactive sites.”
While the fund was once financed by taxes put on producers of chemical waste, this “polluter pays” tax expired in 1995 and it has yet to be reauthorized.
Love Canal Timeline 1942 -- Hooker Chemical Company begins dumping of chemical wastes at Love Canal 1952 -- City of Niagara Falls disposes of municipal wastes at the site 1953 -- Hooker Corporation fills the canal and sells the land to Niagara Falls Board of Education 1955 -- Elementary school (99th Street) opens 1959 -- Chemical seepage into basement is reported 1974 -- Surface of dump begins to collapse and barrels of chemicals are exposed 1976 -- NYDEC documents widespread contamination of sewers and sumps in the neighborhood 1977 -- Local reporter begins investigating possible links of contamination to illness City's consultant reports contamination 1978 -- New York legislature authorizes health studies Love Canal Homeowners Association (LCHA) is formed President Carter declares a "state of emergency" and approves emergency financial aid 1979 -- USEPA contracts for a pilot study of chromosomal damage Love Canal Inter-Agency Task Force is dissolved U.S. Justice Department files a lawsuit against Hooker Chemical Corporation 1980 -- New York State Attorney files a lawsuit against Hooker Corporation and Occidental Petroleum President Carter declares a second federal emergency in the Love Canal area CERCLA (Superfund) is enacted 1981 -- Federal government closes its on-site office in Niagara Falls 1983 -- Former residents and Occidental settle lawsuits 1984 -- New clay cap is installed over canal 1985 -- Some former residents receive compensation from settled lawsuits 1987 -- USEPA decides to burn soil contaminated with dioxin 1988 -- Occidental Petroleum Company is found liable for cleanup costs 1989 -- Consent agreement is reached between the U.S. government and Occidental Adapted from: Timeline of Events at Love Canal http://onlineethics.org/cms/16415.aspx Author(s): Zaremba, Mark