The announcement of a government grant does not necessarily mean money in the pocket immediately. Take for instance the case of Love Canal, the infamous toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, N.Y. On July 16, 1981, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Anne M. Gorsuch announced, with much fanfare, that the Love Canal would receive about $4 million in Superfund money for remedial cleanup work.

New York has yet to receive any of that money. The state has received about $20 million in other federal funds, much of it from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase about 400 contaminated homes. But the Superfund remedial money is needed for long-term cleanup efforts, such as the construction of a structure to contain materials that are leaching out.

The EPA says it's not trying to sit on the money. In fact, after congressional criticism earlier this year, the agency says it has made a special effort to get the Superfund money out. The holdup is that EPA does not want to start construction until it completes its environmental study of Love Canal.

The study is now five months overdue, in part because of a decision to ask the National Bureau of Standards and the Centers for Disease Control to review it. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) asked EPA to set a deadline for the environmental study, and this week he got one: July 14. A Moynihan aide said that date probably means that remedial work cannot start until next year because of the relatively short construction season in Niagara Falls.