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Wildlife Expert Chronicles 40-Year Journey to Restore Bald Eagles in New York State

Wildlife Expert Chronicles 40-Year Journey to Restore Bald Eagles in New York State

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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, click here.

The dredging of Onondaga Lake was completed in 2014; capping is on schedule to be completed in 2016. Construction of the consolidation area cover system began in 2015. An initial layer of soil, with an average thickness of four feet deep, has been placed over the entire area. This year, polyethylene liner and additional layers of soil are being put in place to permanently encapsulate the geotextile tubes.  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 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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.

Aerial photo of the consolidation area

Below is a description of the air monitoring program

Air is monitored during construction activities for dust, 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. Construction activities are planned to take place during normal work hours. There are eight fixed monitoring locations along the consolidation area perimeter. There also were at least three fixed monitoring stations along the lakeshore during dredging (2012 to 2014).

Regulators have established short-term (hourly average) and long-term (12-month average) criteria for this project. Short-term air monitoring is now complete for the season. 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 first year results.  Click here for the second year results. Click here for the third year 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. For more details, see the Community Health and Safety Plan referenced above.

Odor Monitoring

Odors are checked at the air monitoring stations along the work perimeter of the consolidation area by trained professionals. If odors are detected at the site perimeter, controls can be applied. Depending on the nature of the detection, odor monitoring will occur at the work perimeters.

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. Short-term air monitoring is now complete for the season. 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