onondaga lake

The Onondaga Lake site includes the Lake itself, seven major and other minor tributaries, and upland sources of contamination to the Lake (subsites). The Lake has an areal extent of about 4.5 square miles, with a drainage basin of approximately 285 square miles. Effluent from the Metropolitan Syracuse Sewage Treatment Plant discharges into the southeastern end of the Lake. The Lake flows to the northwest into the Seneca River. Historically, industrial processing plants and municipal wastewater treatment plants routinely discharged their wastes into the Lake. The availability of salt and limestone led to the location of the Solvay Process Company, the predecessor to AlliedSignal, Inc.(Honeywell International, Inc. is a successor corporation of the former AlliedSignal, Inc.), on the west shore of the Lake for the production of soda ash. Today, vast areas on the western shoreline are occupied by the "Solvay waste beds," which contain by-products of the company's soda ash production. In 1946, AlliedSignal initiated a mercury cell process which produced chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide at its facility on Willis Avenue, and later expanded to include a facility on Bridge Street. Waste streams containing mercury and other heavy metals were discharged by these facilities. Honeywell’s Semet Residue Ponds, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from facilities associated with the production of benzene, toluene, naphthalene, xylene, and “motor benzol,” are another source of contamination to the Lake. Other industrial and manufacturing facilities are also located along the shore or tributaries to the Lake and may be sources of contamination to the Lake. Onondaga Lake adjoins park lands owned by Onondaga County. Public fishing was banned from the Lake in 1970. The Lake was opened to allow catch-and-release fishing in 1986 and fish advisories regarding consumption of fish have been in place since then. Site Responsibility: The site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions

Hazardous Ranking Score

50 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 2
Phone: (877) 251-4575

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


        Average Income


        Occupied homes

        Potentially Responsible Parties

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