Onondaga Lake Cleanup
Cleanup goals for Onondaga Lake address eight important pollution problems:
- Reduce phosphorus and ammonia loading from Metro to meet water quality standards, thereby lowering toxicity, limiting algal growth, increasing oxygen levels, and improving water clarity.
- Reduce floatable solids and bacterial discharge from combined sewer overflows to meet water quality standards and improve health conditions.
- Identify and control sources of mercury and other industrial contaminants to meet health standards and reduce effects on the fishery.
- Ameliorate saline runoff and leachate from the Solvay Wastebeds to Nine Mile Creek and Onondaga Lake.
- Control Tully Valley mudboils to improve water quality in Onondaga Creek and Onondaga Lake.
- Reduce pollution from rural and urban nonpoint source runoff throughout the watershed.
- Mitigate effects of wave erosion, oncolite formation, and sediment contamination.
- Restore natural habitats suitable for the growth of rooted aquatic plants and the propagation of aquatic species.
The approach to the cleanup is complex owing to the many parties with direct responsibilities. Onondaga County has constructed major facilities to improve the collection and treatment of the municipal wastewater that is discharged to the Lake. Honeywell is building major remediation projects to handle industrial wastes. Several government agencies are involved in regulatory and funding aspects of the work, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USEPA, and NYSDEC.