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Onondaga Lake Dredging Completed, A Year Ahead of Schedule

Onondaga Lake Dredging Completed, A Year Ahead of Schedule

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Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact Chris Lajewski at or call 315-365-3588.

Air Monitoring

To jump immediately to the air monitoring maps below, click here.

The dredging of Onondaga Lake was completed in 2014; capping is on schedule to be completed in 2016. A Community Health and Safety Plan was developed and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in consultation with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 26, 2012. The plan outlines the activities and measures taken to protect the community and environment during operations. Section 3 describes a comprehensive real-time air monitoring program.

Results from the air monitoring program indicate that operations at the lake and the consolidation area, which holds material removed from the lake, have met the project’s health and safety performance criteria.

UPDATE: The New York State Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) has approved a plan to suspend the short-term (hourly average) air monitoring program because no work is being conducted over the winter months at the consolidation area, and dredging is completed. DEC will determine when short-term air monitoring begins again in the spring. The long-term, low level (12-month average) air monitoring will continue.

Below is a description of the air and odor monitoring systems.

Air is monitored, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, for dust, mercury, sulfides, and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) to ensure concentrations at the perimeter of the work zones remain below criteria established by the Community Health and Safety Plan.  There are eight fixed monitoring locations along the consolidation area perimeter.

Regulators have established short-term (hourly average) and long-term (12-month average) criteria for this project. Sampling for individual VOCs (referred to as speciated VOCs) is being conducted as part of the long-term monitoring program.  Long-term monitoring takes place every six days over a 24-hour period at four pre-determined locations along the consolidation area work zone perimeter to determine individual VOC concentrations.  All 12-month averages of individual VOCs were below regulatory criteria for the first two years of operations.  Click here for the results.

Air monitoring results, which are collected in real time, are reviewed regularly by technicians and government regulators to ensure that the air quality criteria are not exceeded. According to DEC, “total VOC levels detected at the perimeter monitoring locations comply with the standard established for protecting public health.”

To provide additional protection, the equipment is set to provide notification to a technician if lower levels (investigative and control levels) than those established by the regulators (work perimeter limits) are met. If an investigative level is reached, there will be an evaluation, the emission source(s) identified, and the perimeter concentrations closely watched for potential increases. If a control level is reached, mitigation measures will be implemented, such as modifying the layout and filling of the geotextile tubes. For more details, see the Community Health and Safety Plan referenced above. If the work perimeter limit is reached, operations related to the source(s) will be restricted or stopped until the work is reassessed.

Odor Monitoring

Odors are checked at the air monitoring stations along the work perimeters of the consolidation area and lakeshore. Trained professionals conduct inspections at each station once every six hours, 24 hours per day, seven days per week (when dredging is active). When odors are detected at the site perimeter, controls described above can be applied. Depending on the nature of the complaint, odor monitoring will occur at, and possibly beyond, the work perimeters.

The goal is to prevent odors from occurring in the community by proactively applying odor controls if / when odor levels increase at the site. To check if odor controls were applied, select a day and then click on the monitoring station number.

The aerial photographs below show the locations of the fixed monitors. To view the data collected, select the date from the drop-down list and click “Change.” Move your cursor over a monitor icon and click on Dust Data or Total VOC Data. If data from a particular monitor is unavailable, this will be stated next to the monitor icon. Wind direction and wind speed information is also available for each monitoring day below the map. If you would like more information, please call 315.552.9784.

Select a day:
Select a day:
Study Area Monitor Locations Air Monitor 1 Air Monitor 2 Air Monitor 3 Air Monitor 4 Air Monitor 5
  • Station not in use since dredging is occurring at the south end of the lake
  • Station not in use since dredging is occurring at the south end of the lake