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Consent Decree Onondaga Lake Bottom Subsite of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site

Syracuse, New York

Oblique view of Onondaga Lake

The Federal Court has approved the agreement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York State Department of Law, and Honeywell International which requires the Company to Clean Up the Onondaga Lake Bottom Site.

On January 4, 2007, the Federal Court approved the proposed agreement (Consent Decree) between New York State and Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell). Under the Consent Decree, Honeywell is required to conduct a cleanup of contaminated sediments in Onondaga Lake in accordance with the Record of Decision (as modified by the Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) dated December 14, 2006)that was issued by the NYSDEC and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 1, 2005. The Onondaga Lake Bottom site is a Subsite to the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site.

Summary of the Remedy Selected on July 1, 2005

The selected remedy is estimated to include the dredging of up to an estimated 2.65 million cubic yards of sediment from the portion of the lake in which water depths range from 0 to 30 feet--with most of the dredging being performed in the southwest portion of the lake. It will also include the use of isolation capping over an estimated 425 acres of this area.

In water depths greater than 30 feet, a thin layer cap will be installed over an estimated 154 acres. In addition, the remedy will monitor the natural covering of the contaminated sediments with clean sediments (monitored natural recovery) discharged from tributaries to the lake.

The most highly contaminated materials will be treated and/or disposed at an off-site permitted landfill. The balance of the dredged sediment will be placed in one or more Sediment Consolidation Areas (SCA) constructed on one of Honeywell's Solvay wastebeds, which historically received process wastes from Honeywell's former operations.

The estimated cost to implement the remedy is approximately $451 million. This is comprised of the cost to construct the remedy (estimated to be $414 million) and the average annual operation and maintenance cost (estimated at approximately $3 million).

The Consent Decree and Related Documents

In October 2006, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York State Department of Law, and Honeywell International (Honeywell) reached an agreement on a Consent Decree that requires the company to conduct a cleanup of contaminated sediments in Onondaga Lake in accordance with the Record of Decision (as modified by the ESD, dated December 14, 2006) that was issued by the NYSDEC and EPA on July 1, 2005. The Consent Decree is a legal agreement which requires Honeywell to design and construct the remedy. Attached to the Consent Decree is a Statement of Work (SOW) which addresses several technical issues associated with the design and construction of the remedy.

Following the finalization of the ROD last year, Honeywell conducted a study of the potential SCA locations on the wastebeds and recommended that the SCA be constructed on an area called Waste Bed 13. The NYSDEC and EPA concurred with the recommendation. The siting of the SCA at Waste Bed 13 was incorporated in the draft Statement of Work.

NYSDEC and EPA drafted an ESD which described a change to a portion of the remedy required by the ROD in the southwest portion of the lake (the draft ESD was attached to the proposed Consent Decree). The change is necessary to ensure the stability of the adjacent causeway and is supported by recent, more extensive sampling of the area which indicates that the extent of pure chemical contamination is significantly less than previously believed.

Opportunity for Public Review and Comment

The proposed agreement and documents relating to the draft ESD and the siting of the SCA, were made available for public review and comment from October 12, 2006 through November 13, 2006. A public availability session and a public meeting were held on October 19, 2006 as part of the citizen participation program for this site. The public availability session provided an opportunity to learn more about the site, the proposed Consent Decree, the siting of the SCA, and the draft ESD directly from NYSDEC staff who responded to questions. During the public meeting, NYSDEC presented the proposed Consent Decree, the draft ESD and the SCA siting information, responded to questions, and accepted public comments.

A "Responsiveness Summary," which summarizes the public comments that were received and how NYSDEC addressed them, has been prepared and is available for review at the repository locations listed below.

The Federal Court approved the proposed Consent Decree on January 4, 2007 following its review of the Consent Decree, Responsiveness Summary, and other related documents.

Based on a review of all public comments that were received, no changes to the draft ESD were necessary. On December 14, 2006, NYSDEC and EPA finalized the ESD.

On January 9, 2007 NYSDEC approved the SCA Siting Evaluation Report and its recommended siting of the SCA at Waste Bed 13.

Controlling Contamination

Control of contamination migrating to the lake from various upland sites is an integral part of the overall cleanup of Onondaga Lake. To prevent recontamination of lake sediments, active sources of contamination to a given portion of the lake will need to be shut off prior to performing cleanup activities in that area of the lake. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the capping for certain areas of the lake will rely upon the proper functioning of hydraulic control (barrier) systems, which are planned for some of the shoreline areas.

These systems will need to be constructed and operating prior to cleanup activities commencing in related areas of the lake. Therefore, the timing of remedial activities in Onondaga Lake will need to be coordinated with the remedial work which will be performed as part of the remedies at the upland sites.

Estimated Time

The project will consist of an estimated five-year design process (This includes the design and construction of the dewatering facilities and the Sediment Containment Area.). In-lake construction activities (e.g., dredging and capping) are expected to take four years to complete.

Design and construction activities at several upland areas will be ongoing while design of the lake remedy is under way.

History

At its chemical production plants near Onondaga Lake, Allied-Signal, Inc., now Honeywell, used or produced hazardous and non-hazardous substances beginning in 1917. In June of 1989, the state filed a legal action in U. S. District Court against Allied, seeking environmental remediation and natural resource damages arising from the company's pollution of the Onondaga Lake system. The lake and related contaminated areas were listed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1994 and are included on the State Superfund list.

Related Documents

Copies of all of the above documents including the Responsiveness Summary, the ESD, the approved Consent Decree and the SCA Siting Evaluation Report are available at the repository locations listed below.

Furthermore, the complete Administrative Record file, which contains information (including the Onondaga Lake Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), Human Health Risk Assessment, and the Baseline Biological Risk Assessment) upon which the selection of the response action was based, is available at the asterisked (*) locations listed below. The other listed repositories contain key documents (e.g., RI/FS reports, Proposed Plan, and Record of Decision), but do not contain the entire administrative record.

These documents are available for review at the following locations:

NYSDEC, Region 7 *
615 Erie Blvd., West
Syracuse, NY
Phone: (315) 426-7400
Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Please call for an appointment

Atlantic States Legal Foundation *
658 West Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13204
Phone: (315) 475-1170
Hours: Please call for hours of availability

Onondaga County Public Library
Syracuse Branch at the Galleries
447 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13204-2400
Phone: (315) 435-1800
Hours: M, Th, Fri, Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tu, Wed, 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Liverpool Public Library
310 Tulip Street
Liverpool, New York 13088
Phone: (315) 457-0310
Hours: M - Th, 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; Fri, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.;
Sat, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; and Sun, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Camillus Town Hall
4600 West Genesee Street, Room 100
Syracuse, New York 13219
Phone: (315) 488-1234
Hours: M-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Moon Library
SUNY ESF
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, New York 13210
Phone: (315) 470-6712
Hours: call for hours or check http://www.esf.edu/moonlib/

NYSDEC *
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-7016
Phone: (518) 402-9767
Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Please call for an appointment

Should there be any questions regarding this project, please contact:

Timothy Larson, P.E.
Onondaga Lake Superfund Site - Public Comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-7016
Phone: (518) 402-9767
E-mail: tjlarson@gw.dec.state.ny.us


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