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Onondaga Lake Bottom Subsite Fact Sheet - November 2004

Proposed Plan Announced for the Onondaga Lake Site

A Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study has been completed for the Onondaga Lake Site, a subsite to the Onondaga Lake National Priorities List (NPL) Site. A proposed cleanup plan (Proposed Plan) has been prepared for public review and comment. This Fact Sheet provides site background information, a summary of the site conditions, a summary of the cleanup activities from the Proposed Plan, and information on how you can participate in the remedy selection process.

Citizen Participation
Public availability sessions and a public meeting have been scheduled (as detailed in the sidebar at left) as part of the citizen participation program for this site. The public availability sessions provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the site and the Proposed Plan directly from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) staff who will respond to your questions. During the public meeting, the NYSDEC will present the proposed cleanup activities as contained in the Proposed Plan, respond to your questions, and accept public comments.

NYSDEC will accept written public comments during the public comment period commencing on November 29, 2004 and ending on March 1, 2005. Comments should be sent to the Project Manager whose address is provided below. Alternatively, comments may be sent via email to the following email address: derweb@gw.dec.state.ny.us (Please indicate "Onondaga Lake Proposed Plan" in the subject line of the e-mail.) A "Responsiveness Summary" will be prepared that describes public comments received and how the NYSDEC will address the concerns raised.

For More Information. Call or write the following staff for more information:

Timothy Larson, P.E., Project Manager
NYSDEC
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
(518) 402-9767

For Health Related Questions:
Ms. Henriette Hamel
NYSDOH, 217 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 477-8163

A Remedial Investigation which was completed in 2002 investigated the nature and extent of contamination in Onondaga Lake. Some of the RI's findings are as follows: Mercury contamination is found throughout the lake, with the most elevated concentrations detected in sediments in the Ninemile Creek delta and in the sediments and wastes present in the southwestern portion of the lake. Other contaminants present within Onondaga Lake sediments include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX), chlorinated benzenes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polychlorinated dioxins and furans. These contaminants are primarily found in the southwestern portion of Onondaga Lake. Much of the contamination in the southwest portion is present in an 84 acre area known as the In-Lake Waste Deposit (ILWD). Elevated concentrations of some contaminants in certain locations in the southwestern portion of Onondaga Lake extend to a depth of at least 25 feet in lake sediments. Onondaga Lake fish have elevated contaminant levels and contamination in the lake presents risks to all trophic levels of the Onondaga Lake ecosystem.

Honeywell submitted a draft Feasibility Study in May 2003, and revised versions of the Feasibility Study report in May 2004 and November 2004. The Feasibility Study identified and evaluated possible alternatives for cleaning up the hazardous waste contamination in the lake. DEC's proposed remedy for cleaning up the lake is based on a combination of alternatives evaluated by Honeywell in the Feasibility Study.

The proposed remedy is estimated to include the dredging of up to 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 would 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 would be installed over an estimated 154 acres. Additionally in these deeper areas, the remedy includes the performance of an pilot study to introduce oxygen in the lake(oxygenation)to prevent the development of anoxic (no oxygen) conditions, which currently exist in summer (June through September). This would be followed by full-scale implementation (if supported by the pilot study). Additionally, the proposal would monitor the natural covering of the contaminated sediments with clean sediments (Monitored Natural Recovery) discharged from tributaries to the Lake.

It is anticipated that the most highly contaminated materials (e.g., pure phase chemicals segregated during the dredging/handling process) would be treated and/or disposed at an off-site permitted landfill. The balance of the dredged sediment would be placed in a Sediment Consolidation Area which would be constructed on one of Honeywell's Solvay wastebeds which historically received process wastes from Honeywell's former operations.

The estimated present worth cost to implement the remedy is approximately $451,000,000. The cost to construct the remedy is estimated to be $414,000,000 and the estimated average annual operation and maintenance cost is $3,000,000.

The control of contamination migrating to the lake from the various upland sites is an integral part of the overall cleanup of Onondaga Lake. To prevent the recontamination of lake sediments, active sources of contamination to a given portion of the lake would need to be shut-off prior to performing cleanup activities in that area of the lake. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the capping proposed for certain areas of the lake would rely upon the proper functioning of hydraulic control (barrier) systems which are planned for some of the shoreline areas. These systems would need to be constructed and operating prior to cleanup activities commencing in the related areas of the lake. Therefore, the timing of remedial activities in Onondaga Lake would need to be coordinated with the remedial work which would be performed as part of the remedies at the upland sites.

The remedial construction (dredging and capping) components of this preferred remedy are estimated to take approximately four years. This does not include the time it would take to design the remedy which would take approximately three years. Design and construction activities at several of the upland areas would be ongoing while design of the lake remedy was underway.

This alternative is protective of human health and the environment, removes source material from the environment, complies with ARARs to the extent practicable, is implementable, has good long and short term effectiveness, reduces the mobility of contaminants, and is cost effective.

At its chemical production plants near Onondaga Lake, Allied-Signal, Inc., now Honeywell, used or produced hazardous and non-hazardous substances since 1917. In June of 1989, the State filed a legal action in US 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 is included on the State Superfund list.

On January 6, 2005 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. and January 12, 2005 from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M., the NYSDEC will hold informal availability sessions for questions and answers regarding the proposed cleanup plan. The formal public meeting will be held on January 12, 2005 at 7:00 P.M. Both availability sessions and the public meeting will take place at the Martha Eddy Room in the Art and Home Center of the New York State Fairgrounds.

NYSDEC will accept written public comments during the public comment period commencing on November 29, 2004 and ending on March 1, 2005. Comments should be sent to the Project Manager whose address is provided above. Alternatively, comments may be sent via email to the following website address: derweb@gw.dec.state.ny.us (Please indicate "Onondaga Lake Proposed Plan" in the subject line of the e-mail.) A "Responsiveness Summary" will be prepared that describes the public comments received and how the NYSDEC will address the concerns raised.

DEC has worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in investigating and evaluating alternatives. EPA will have the Proposed Plan and other project documents reviewed by its National Remedy Review Board (NRRB). The NRRB is a USEPA peer review group that reviews all proposed Superfund cleanup decisions that meet certain cost-based or other review criteria to ensure that these proposed decisions are consistent with Superfund law, regulations, and guidance. EPA will render its opinion on the proposed plan upon completion of the NRRB process.

Copies of project-related documents are available for public review at the Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse Branch at the Galleries; the Atlantic States Legal Foundation (by appointment), 658 West Onondaga Street in Syracuse; at the DEC Region 7 Office (by appointment), 615 Erie Blvd. West in Syracuse by calling (315)426-7403 and at the DEC Office in Albany (by appointment), 625 Broadway in Albany by calling (518)402-9767.

Availability Sessions:

January 6, 2005
7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

January 12, 2005
3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Public Meeting:
January 12, 2005
7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

At the Martha Eddy Room in the Art and Home Center of the New York State Fairgrounds.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:

November 29, 2004 to March 1, 2005


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