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Honeywell to restore Onondaga Lake

Staff Writer | December 21, 2017
The Departments of Justice and the Interior joined with the New York State Office of the Attorney General (NYSOAG) and Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to announce a proposed settlement with Honeywell International and Onondaga County related to contamination of Onondaga Lake, portions of its tributaries, and surrounding wetlands and uplands.
Onondaga Lake
Ecology   The proposal would resolve claims
The proposal would resolve claims brought under the federal Superfund law for damages to natural resources stemming from releases of mercury and other hazardous substances from facilities owned and operated by Honeywell (formerly Allied-Signal) and Onondaga County at the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site in Syracuse, New York.

As part of its operations over many years, Honeywell contributed hazardous substances that resulted in the contamination of Onondaga Lake, portions of its tributaries, and surrounding wetlands and uplands. Hazardous substances from Onondaga County’s operations made their way into Onondaga Lake as well.

Federal Superfund law seeks to make the environment and public whole for injuries to natural resources and ecological and recreational services resulting from releases of hazardous substances to the environment.

The proposed settlement requires Honeywell to implement and maintain 20 restoration projects to restore and protect wildlife habitat and water quality, and increase recreational opportunities at Onondaga Lake.

Honeywell will also pay over $6 million allocated to restoration and preservation programs overseen by the federal and state trustees, Department of Interior, and the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation acting through NYSDEC.

Onondaga County will operate, repair, maintain, and monitor five of these restoration projects located on or adjacent to County parklands for 25 years.

The settlement terms are outlined in a proposed consent decree filed in federal court in Syracuse, New York. The total value of this proposed settlement is $26 million.

This past August, the trustees, through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of New York, issued a final restoration plan and environmental assessment plan outlining these 20 restoration projects to restore the Lake and wildlife habitat and improve recreational resources.

This plan also included responses to oral and written comments received from the public on the draft plan during a 90-day public comment period, which included four public meetings and one public hearing held throughout Syracuse during the spring 2017.

Since 2008, Honeywell and the trustees have worked together to assess and identify potential restoration projects to benefit natural resources affected by releases of mercury and other hazardous substances.

Some of the damaged natural resources include fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Recreational fishing opportunities were also impacted by mercury contamination.