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Onondaga Lake Bottom Site Fact Sheet - April 1, 2005

EPA Concurs with DEC's Preferred Remedy (Proposed Plan) for the Onondaga Lake Bottom Site, DEC Opens a New Public Comment Period, and Seeks an Extension of the Date for the Selection of a Final Cleanup Plan for the Site

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concurred with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC's) Preferred Remedy (Proposed Plan) for the remediation of the Onondaga Lake Bottom site. DEC has opened a new public comment period related to the Onondaga Lake Bottom Proposed Plan and has requested an extension of the date for DEC to issue its Record of Decision (ROD) or final plan for the remediation of the Onondaga Lake Bottom site.

The purpose of the new public comment period is to receive comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) National Remedy Review Board's (NRRB's) recommendations related to its review of the Proposed Plan, DEC and EPA's New York regional office's responses to these recommendations, as well as the Proposed Plan. Public comments will be accepted through April 30, 2005.

The NRRB is an EPA 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. The NRRB completed its review of the preferred remedy for the Onondaga Lake Bottom site in February 2005 and presented a number of written recommendations. DEC and EPA's New York regional office prepared written responses to the NRRB's recommendations. In a March 25, 2005 letter to DEC, EPA indicated that the agency concurs with the Proposed Plan. The letter also indicated that DEC should open a new 30 day public comment period and extend the date for the issuance of the ROD from April 1, 2005 to July 1, 2005.

DEC released the Proposed Plan for the Onondaga Lake Bottom site in November 2004 and held a number of informal availability sessions and public meetings during a public comment period that commenced on November 29, 2004 and concluded on March 1, 2005. Pursuant to terms of the Consent Decree entered in federal court, the ROD was to be issued by DEC on April 1, 2005. However, at EPA's request, DEC has requested the court to extend the ROD date until July 1,2005. This would allow time for the new public comment period. It would also afford DEC and EPA the opportunity to have further dialogue with the Onondaga Nation regarding the Proposed Plan.

The Proposed Plan, the NRRB's recommendations, and the responses to these recommendations, as well as other site documents, are available in the administrative record file at the following locations: Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse Branch at the Galleries, 447 South Salina Street, Syracuse, New York 13204; Atlantic States Legal Foundation, 658 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse, New York 13204; NYSDEC, 615 Erie Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13204; NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-7016; Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip Street, Liverpool, New York 13088; Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee Street, Camillus, New York 13031 ; and Moon Library, SUNY ESF, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, New York 13210.

DEC will accept written comments on the NRRB's recommendations related to its review of the Proposed Plan, DEC and EPA's New York regional office's response to these recommendations, as well as the Proposed Plan, during a public comment period which commences on April 1, 2005 and ends on April 30, 2005. Comments should be sent to Timothy Larson, Project Manager, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, 12th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-7016. Alternatively, comments may be sent via e-mail to: derweb@dec.ny.gov Please indicate "Onondaga Lake Bottom NRRB" in the subject line of the e-mail. A "Responsiveness Summary", a summary of the comments that were received during this and the previous comment period and responses to the comments, will be included in the ROD, the document which formalizes the selection of the remedy.

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 a 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 separated 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 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 will 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 the proposed 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 state and federal requirements, is implementable, has good long and short term effectiveness, reduces the mobility of contaminants, and is cost effective.

The estimated present value cost to implement the remedy is $451 million. The cost to construct the remedy is estimated to be $414 million and the estimated average annual operation and maintenance cost is $3 million.

At its chemical production plants near Onondaga Lake, Allied-Signal, Inc., now Honeywell, used or produced hazardous and nonhazardous 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 EPA's Superfund National Priorities List in December 1994 and is included on the State Superfund list.

Public Comment Period: April 1, 2005 to April 30, 2005

For More Information call or write the following staff:

Timothy Larson, P.E.
Project Manager
NYSDEC
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-7016
(518) 402-9767

For Health Related Concerns:
Henriette Hamel
NYSDOH
217 South Salina Street, 3rd Floor
Syracuse, New York 13202-3592
(315) 477-8163


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