cleanup actions were carried out, why those actions were selected, monitoring results, health and safety records, and which contaminants remain onsite. Otherwise, future generations will struggle to reconstruct today’s cleanup decisions and to understand the potential environmental risks left behind.
The loss of institutional memory can be rapid. For example, in the United States, within 2 years after the chemical waste site of Love Canal in New York State was sold, houses and a school were built atop the site, although the transfer deed specifically identified potential health hazards. Years later, a public emergency was declared because of illnesses, odors, and contamination seeping from the ground.
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