Love Canal: Summer Vacation.

On a recent trip through Niagara Falls, New York, I forced the family to stop off and visit the remnants of what is now known as Love Canal – sidewalks disappear into brush and an occasional home can be seen through the overgrown vegetation. Our 5-year-old twins were full of questions.  “Why are we driving around in the woods?” When I graduated from college I wanted to “save the environment” and was not really sure what that meant. My first job was in an environmental lab where the hours were long and the work was hectic. Drinking water samples were coming in at an alarming pace with what is known as 7-day-hold-times. That is they must be analyzed within 7 days of sampling. Many of the samples arrived with only a day or two left on them. Late arriving samples could ruin weekend plans and added a high degree of stress to an already crazy schedule. One day I mentioned my frustration to Gary Stidsen about my failure to achieve my dream of “saving the environment.” He described the work they had done over the years on the Love Canal samples and told the story of Love Canal from an analytical chemist point of view. He put human faces to all of those nameless samples that filled our refrigerators. I have been drawn to Love Canal ever since because it validates our work analyzing drinking water, waste water and toxic waste samples and those tests keep our families safe (and yes those labs are saving the environment).

Guides for the analysis of organic wastes:

Guide to Preparing and Analyzing Chlorinated Pesticides

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Home located on the outer circle, these homes were evacuated by President Carter but some refused to leave.

 

Home on 101st Street, in 2008 it was the only home in the evacuated zone where children live.

Looking from 102nd Street towards the former location of the 99th St. School. Remediation facility is located at the canal.

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