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$23M Coming to Cleanup Onondaga Lake Superfund Site

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$23 million in federal funding is going to clean up pollution at Onondaga Lake. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced the money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be used to clean up the 4.6-square-mile superfund site located northwest of the City of Syracuse.

“Syracuse and the communities surrounding Onondaga Lake have seen firsthand how transformative the Superfund program can be. Onondaga Lake was once one of the most polluted lakes in the country, but because of decades of work by activists and the strengthened federal environmental laws, the waterways are the cleanest they have been in nearly a century, but there is still much more to be done. Today, thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, approximately $23 million in federal funding will flow to jumpstart the cleanup of the Ley Creek portion of the Onondaga Lake Superfund site – while the EPA continues work to hold polluters accountable,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Our work is far from finished, but kick starting the cleanup of these long-polluted sites and waterways exactly what the Superfund funding I fought to supercharge in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was mean to do. I am proud to deliver this federal funding so that cleanup for Central NY can finally get underway and vow to continue to fight for the resources needed to protect our beautiful Central New York waterways.”

The EPA said the site includes the lake, seven tributaries, and land-based sources of contamination. Pollutants and sewage have been dumped into the lake for over 100 years. The site has been divided into 11 subsites.

Funding will address soil on the floodplains and sediment in Ley Creek contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals. Roughly 144,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 9,600 cubic yards of sentiments will be disposed of.

The EPA noted that the $23 Million will begin the cleanup work while the agency continues to “engage with responsible parties.”

“This is a critical investment that will help clean up dangerous and widespread contaminants in New York’s groundwater and waterways,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I’m proud that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing this funding, which will help clean up contamination at Roosevelt Field and Onondaga Lake. I will continue working with the Biden administration to address legacy pollution and to improve public health for all.”

This is one of two New York sites receiving funding for cleanup with the other being the Old Roosevelt Groundwater Area Site in Garden City on Long Island.

“People living in New York have seen firsthand how transformative the Superfund program can be for communities,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia.  “This investment in America and in New York builds on the historic progress we have already made in recent years to ensure that communities living near the most serious uncontrolled, or abandoned contaminated sites get the protections they deserve.”

In total, more than $1 Billion is going to over 100 sites across the country.

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