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Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan for Onondaga Lake- May 2012

The Onondaga Lake remediation plan, which was selected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), calls for a combination of dredging, capping, and monitored natural recovery, which are proven environmental remediation methods that address contamination in Lake sediment. To prevent potential unacceptable water quality impacts as a result of sediment disturbances during these activities, a comprehensive water quality management and monitoring program will be implemented. This program will address suspension of contaminated sediments and potential release of contaminants.

Suspension controls, both physical (i.e., silt or turbidity curtains) and operational (e.g., minimizing cutterhead rotation speed and implementing
other best management practices [BMPs]) have proven effective at numerous capping and dredging sites, and will be used to mitigate any potential impacts during Onondaga Lake remedial activities.

The proposed methods and procedures for management of ambient water quality impacts are presented in this Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan (WQMMP). The goals and objectives of this WQMMP are to: 1) describe water quality management and control measures; 2) provide procedures and protocols to monitor water quality during dredging and capping activities; and 3) establish response actions in the unlikely event that unacceptable conditions are detected. Water quality alert and action levels, management activities and controls such as silt curtains, water quality monitoring program elements, and potential response activities, are described in detail in the WQMMP. Water quality alert and action levels have been developed such that an efficient and environmentally protective program can be implemented.

The goals and objectives of the WQMMP are as follows:

  • Identify water quality alert and action levels that would initiate investigation and/or implementation of additional engineering practices to control potential impacts of ongoing remedial work
  • Describe water quality management and control measures (e.g., best management practices [BMPs]) that will mitigate unanticipated unacceptable water quality impacts
  • Provide procedures and protocols to monitor water quality during dredging and capping activities to assess and manage potential impacts to water quality associated with the remedial construction activities on the Lake and
  • Establish response actions in the unlikely event that unacceptable conditions are detected

This WQMMP includes the following sections:


  • Section 1 presents a general overview of the WQMMP including the goals and objectives of the water quality monitoring program.
  • Section 2 presents the water quality alert and action levels developed for this project.
  • Section 3 discusses the management activities and controls that will be in place to protect water quality during dredging and capping activities.
  • Section 4 describes the water quality monitoring program, including the monitoring parameters, locations, schedule, equipment, analyses, and reporting requirements.
  • Section 5 discusses the response actions that will be followed based on monitoring results (i.e., in the unlikely event that construction-related impacts cause alert and action levels and/or criteria to be exceeded).
  • Section 6 provides the references for this WQMMP.

Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan for Onondaga Lake, May 2012 (Report and Appendix A) (PDF) (49 pages, 5.3 mB)

Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan for Onondaga Lake, May 2012 (Appendix B and Figures) (PDF) (30 pages, 5.1 mB)

Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan for Onondaga Lake, May 2012 (Figures, Part 1) (PDF) (8 pages, 4.9 mB)

Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan for Onondaga Lake, May 2012 (Figures, Part 2 (PDF) (92 pages, 4.6 mB)


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