The CPWG is meeting throughout the remediation and restoration work, providing a forum to inform, receive input and discuss specific aspects of the design and construction of the lake restoration. There are opportunities for the public to contribute information, opinions, perspectives and recommendations. The CPWG meetings are open to the public and consist of public officials, community leaders, citizens, and conservation and environmental group leaders. They are supported by technical experts from DEC and Honeywell. The DEC has appointed members to the CPWG to help facilitate communication between DEC and the public. Individuals interested in participating should contact Stephanie Harrington or Diane Carlton at DEC Region 7 directly at 315-426-7403, or visit www.onondagalake.info.
Onondaga Lake Community Participation Working Group
BY JEFF FREEDMAN, PH.D., CHAIR
The Community Participation Working Group (CPWG) meets monthly with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Honeywell to both raise community awareness and deepen our understanding of the complex issues surrounding the lake cleanup. Meetings with Onondaga County, public health officials, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and scientists have helped us to achieve these goals.
In addition to dredging and capping progress, the following were most welcome:
- Honeywell made substantive efforts to prevent, lessen or contain odors originating from the consolidation area
- The deep-water remediation program, which is designed to minimize the formation of methylmercury that accumulates in fish, offers hope for an enhanced edible fishery in Onondaga Lake
- Investigations and possible preservation of underwater historical vessels
- Cleanup of Nine Mile Creek and the county’s success in reducing the occurrence of combined sewer overflows have further reduced the inflow of contaminants into the lake
We also appreciated visits to the consolidation area, the Geddes Brook habitat restoration area, and close-up views of dredges and lakeshore construction sites.
Honeywell, DEC, and EPA have provided ample opportunities for CPWG committee members to be informed, ask questions and engage in dialogue. The CPWG will continue to update the community. We invite anyone to participate in our meetings.
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, more information, or to contact us, please visit www.onondagalake.info.