onondagalakeThe giant corporation Honeywell Inc. will spend $451 million to help clean New York’s Onondaga Lake under the "Polluter Pays" principle held by federal and state environmental departments.

The lake is a sacred American Indian site where the famous chief Hiawatha once canoed, but after a century of pollution it became one of only three lakes in the country designated a federal Superfund site…

The agreement announced Thursday will lead to cleansing of the lake’s waters, shores and beds, as well as long-term maintenance and monitoring.


The Onondaga Lake cleanup plan calls for the dredging and disposal of up to 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments, construction of an isolation cap to seal more than five hundred acres of lake beds, with sand, gravel and other material, monitored natural recovery, wetland and habitat restoration, and long-term maintenance and monitoring. The most highly contaminated materials will be treated and/or disposed at an off-site permitted landfill.

The lake is surrounded by the city of Syracuse and the suburban and industrial area of Solvay. Many of the companies in the areas of Solvay and Syracuse are held to blame for the lake’s high concentrations of hazardous chemicals. But the now defunct Allied Chemicals, currently owned by Honeywell, is being held responsible for the clean up of the lake for their mass depositing of mercury and salt over the years.

Additionally, Onondaga County will spend $500 million on a 15-year project to halt its release of sewage into the lake by 2012. This municipal pollution created a coverage of algae and an odor so vile it could be smelled for miles. The county is under a federal court order to make the lake safe for swimming and fishing and comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

Honeywell will begin the work authorized in the plan, within 30 days with an expected completion period of nine years. (source: MSNBC and press releases)

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