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“Onondaga Lake Birds of Prey” Photography Exhibit to Highlight Images of Wildlife Returning to Onondaga Lake

“Onondaga Lake Birds of Prey” Photography Exhibit to Highlight Images of Wildlife Returning to Onondaga Lake

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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 montezuma@audubon.org or call 315-365-3588.

Start of Pipeline Construction Marks Major Milestone in Onondaga Lake Restoration

Local Companies Supply and Transport Materials; Safety and Sustainability Key Elements of Pipeline Design and Operation

A major milestone has been reached in the Onondaga Lake restoration as construction begins of a double-walled pipeline that will transport material removed from the lake. The pipeline project, which is expected to last several months, is an important element of the remediation plan, which was selected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005.

“The restoration of Onondaga Lake continues to achieve terrific progress,” said Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe. “Consistent with our commitment to buy locally, we are purchasing the pipeline from VARI-TECH of Liverpool, as well as working with other local companies to transport it to the construction sites. Reduction of greenhouse gases and numerous safety measures are built into the pipeline design and operation.”

VARI-TECH employee welds the double-walled pipe. VARI-TECH, based in Liverpool, N.Y., is one of the largest suppliers of polyethylene pipe in the United States.

“This is one of the largest projects in Central New York that utilizes our products,” said Tracy Guhin of VARI-TECH. “Our company has been able to maintain staffing levels and increase overtime due to the scale of this project. We live in this community and have a vested interest in the lake because the cleanup affects us all. We also have included other local companies to build components for our product and local trucking companies to transport our product to the job-site locations. This project has had a positive impact on many segments of the local economy.”

During the dredging, which begins in 2012, four electric-booster pumps will move the material pumped from the lake bottom through the pipeline to the consolidation area in Camillus.

As a safety measure – to protect against potential leaks – the pipeline will have two pipes, one inside the other. The material will travel through a 16-inch pipe, which will be inside a 22-inch pipe that will serve as a secondary containment. Sensors will be able to determine if there are any leaks or loss in pressure. Any potential issues will temporarily shut off the pipeline until the problem is resolved.

Worker (left) points to the 22-inch pipe that encases the 16-inch pipe.
Double-walled pipes ready for pipeline construction (right).

The pipeline is made of high-density polyethylene and is constructed for outdoor exposure and durability. It will run approximately 20,600 feet, or 3.9 miles, and will largely follow along the I-690 corridor, a portion of Nine Mile Creek, and on to Honeywell property located off Gere Lock Road. The pipeline route will not pass through residential neighborhoods. Traffic barriers, including guard rails, will be installed where the pipeline is in close proximity to roadways.

Dredged material will be transported by pipeline from the lake to the consolidation area without going through residential neighborhoods.

Honeywell will conduct daily inspections of the pipeline and booster stations. Signs will be posted along the pipeline warning of the risks of trespassing, along with contact information.

Advantages of using a pipeline versus trucks are greatly reduced traffic, emissions and noise. In addition, the material that is dredged from the lake will be completely contained within the pipe (not exposed to the air) during transport.

Sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gases are important considerations for the project design and construction. The booster pumps will be powered by “green” electricity from hydro-electric plants rather than diesel fuel. This, along with other design enhancements, will reduce the project’s carbon footprint by 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide – equivalent to removing about 4,500 cars from the highway for one year. Furthermore, the booster pump stations will use process/recycled water, resulting in the reduction of use of potable water (water that is safe to drink) by approximately 700 million gallons during the span of the project. The water is used to continually cool the pumps.

The construction work will be completed under a Community Health and Safety Plan that was approved by the DEC in January, following a public comment period. A Health and Safety Plan for the dredging operations, including the pipeline, will be publicly available later this year.

During construction activities, Honeywell monitors the air when work is taking place that may result in emissions or dust. While construction noise is not anticipated to exceed 55 dBA – or the equivalent of noise on an average street – monitoring will be conducted to ensure any noise remains below established limits reviewed by the DEC.

Individuals interested in more information should contact Honeywell at 315-552-9784.

For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/73618.html or www.onondaga-lake-initiatives.com.