The federal court judge overseeing the Onondaga Lake Consent Decree has dismissed an effort to halt the cleanup. This ruling means that Honeywell will implement the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) cleanup plan on schedule.
Honeywell is conducting the state’s cleanup plan under the supervision, and at the direction of, federal and state regulators. The protection of health and safety, for both workers and the public, is the top priority.
Under the direct supervision of DEC, Honeywell has taken extensive measures – and will continue to do so – to minimize odors. Every governmental agency that has looked at this project has confirmed, and reconfirmed, that any such odors do not constitute a health risk. The actual environmental data and the experts confirm this fact.
DEC and the Attorney General (AG) of the State of New York both submitted documents with the court supporting the government’s plan. DEC also determined that the Camillus community’s consultant, Minnich and Scotto based its report on “flawed assumptions and inaccurate information.” Key excerpts below.
Community Health and Safety Plan (CHASP)
A key part of the cleanup is the Health and Safety Plan, which was reviewed and approved by DEC.
- According to DEC’s court submission: “2012 SCA operations and all 2013 SCA operations to date have met all CHASP health-based numerical performance standards for air quality.” [The SCA is the sediment containment area where the lake material is consolidated and put into geotubes for drying and safe isolation long term.]
- “[N]ot only are air emissions from the SCA monitored around the clock, and the resulting data available in ‘real time,’ the actual data generated by that monitoring has shown not a single exceedance of the conservative health-based criteria established by DEC and EPA to ensure protection of public health.”
- ” … Honeywell’s … ongoing remediation work is being conducted in compliance with the ROD, Consent Decree, and approved remedial design, including the Community Health and Safety Plan.” [Record of Decision is DEC's formal decision document.]
- “It should be noted that during the planning and design process, the parties to the Consent Decree … planned for the possibility that odors could arise from the SCA operations.”
- ” … DEC will continue to monitor the project and ensure that Honeywell adaptively manages the remedial process so that all available and appropriate steps to reduce odors are taken.”
- “The Report does not incorporate the significant air quality monitoring data collected during the 2012 dredging operations, and instead, relies on a predictive model.”
- Minnich and Scotto’s “criticism of the existing air monitoring system is unfounded.”
- ” … DEC has vast and extensive experience in air monitoring at hundreds of other sites. … DEC sees no need to replace the existing comprehensive monitoring system. …”
After decades of intense planning, public participation, environmental engineering, and careful design by the regulatory agencies with expertise in this area, the restoration of Onondaga Lake should not be held hostage by the unfounded criticism of a consultant who recommends a different technology based upon, according to DEC, “flawed assumptions and inaccurate information.”
Central New York is on the cusp of a restored Onondaga Lake, which the community now believes – for the first time – will happen in their lifetimes.