After years of planning, cleanup is underway on Onondaga Lake. Honeywell International began dredging and capping the lake of contaminated sediments on Monday. For the next few years, people driving along Interstate 690 will see engineers, scientists and construction workers at work. Our Iris St. Meran has the details of this final stage.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- For years, Onondaga Lake was known as the most polluted lake. After ten years of investigations, designs and construction, the people involved with its cleanup are glad this day has finally come.
This dredging is part of a more than $400 million project to restore Onondaga Lake to its original state. This process will take time. It will be 24 hours a day, six days a week for at least the next four to five years.
So far a barrier wall has been completed. That wall prevents contaminated ground water from getting in the lake. The next step is what we've been talking about, the actual dredging. There are three dredges which will remove the contaminated sediments from the bottom of the lake.
"The sediment is pumped from the dredge shed which breaks up the sediment, puts it through a double wall pipe line for four miles up to the sediment consolidation area which is a line facility that has been built up on some former Allied-Signal property in Camillus," said John McAuliffe, Honeywell Syracuse Program Director.
Although this process will take time, there are improvements that can already be seen including landscaping and plants along I-690. One of the things McAuliffe was most proud of is the number of people working on this major cleanup project. In total, 500 people have been hired. They include engineers, scientists and construction workers.