Shipments Of Love Canal Toxic Wastes To Ontario Turned Back

A Brief Update from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Plans to incinerate some of the world’s most infamous toxic waste in Ontario have been snuffed out by the company on the verge of carrying out the operation.

A historic photo of barrels of toxic chemicals to be buried at the Love Canal site before a school and heibhourhoood homes were later built around and on top.

A historic photo of barrels of toxic chemicals to be buried at the Love Canal site before a school and heibhourhoood homes were built around and on top.

The waste in question – collected over decades of cleanup and containment efforts at the Love Canal dumpsite in Niagara Falls, New York – was already being trucked through border crossings in Niagara to an incinerator in the Sarnia, Ontario area when the U.S.-based company that owns and operates it decided to turn the trucks around.

According to a December 16th CBC report, the company, Clean Harbors of Massachusetts, buried plans to incinerate numerous tonnes of waste laced with dioxin, PCBs, chlorobenzenes and other manmade poisons from the Love Canal site, following protests from people in the Sarnia, Ontario area.

Love Canal, as at least some of you may recall, made international headlines in the 1970s and 80s when wastes buried by the then Hooker Chemical Company of Niagara Falls, New York (later Occidental Chemical) assaulted a school and neighbourhood built on top and around the dump. Then U.S. president Jimmy Carter signed two national emergency orders to evacuate residents in the neighbhourhood and provide compensation for their contaminated properties. 

Clean Harbor was reported saying it will now make plans to take the Love Canal waste to one of its facilities in the U.S. for destruction, and as a journalist who began his career as an environment reporter covering Love Canal and related issues in the Niagara area some 35 years ago, I would say to this company – ‘Bloody Good Luck to you’. 

No other communities on either side of the U.S./Canada border was willing to take Love Canal poisons 35 years ago and no communities have been willing to accept them for any plan to destroy or more securely dispose of them up to now. Love Canal’s brew is like the person that shows up at a at a gathering that no one – and I mean absolutely no one – wants to sit next to.

Tragically, the U.S. courts refused to accept a demand by U.S. and Canadian environmental groups like Operation Clean of Niagara-on-the-Lake to force Hooker to dig up and destroy all the wastes on its Niagara Falls, N.Y. property at the time. So close to 20,000 tonnes of this deadly goo remains buried at the site where it sill has the potential to leak to the Niagara River, only a few hundred metres away. 

What Canadian residents also ought to consider of concern is the decision by Clean Harbor to consider an incinerator in Ontario first, over any other facilities it has in the U.S, for burning this waste. 

My speculation on why a Canadian site was this U.S. waste corporation’s first choice is this. Canada and Ontario continue to have laws that are weaker than most U.S. jurisdictions when it comes to polluting water and air – a sorry fact that all Ontarians and Canadians who care about protecting our environment and health ought to rally together to do something about. 

Finally, thanks to CBC and Sarnia area residents and politicians for the role they played in turning these shipments of poison around.

(Niagara At Large invites you to join in the conversation by sharing your views on the content of this post below. For reasons of transparency and promoting civil dialogue, NAL only posts comments from individuals who share their first and last name with their views.)

 

 

(Niagara At Large invites you to join in the conversation by sharing your views on the content of this post below. For reasons of transparency and promoting civil dialogue, NAL only posts comments from individuals who share their first and last name with their views.)

One response to “Shipments Of Love Canal Toxic Wastes To Ontario Turned Back

  1. Thanks for the excellent good news/bad news story Doug. As ever, on top of these long standing issues.

    Like

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