Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced the recent revisions to the 1998 court-ordered cleanup of Onondaga Lake on Thursday Nov. 19 during a press conference at the Onondaga Lake Park.
Revisions were made to the 1998 Amended Consent Judgment, which was designed to improve the lake’s water quality and bring it up to date with state and federal water quality regulations by Dec.2012. The original plan was to build three large water treatment facilities, including one in Armory Square.
The project was halted in 2008 after Mahoney took office, however, and the county began looking into a more sustainable method to correct the pollution problem.
The new plan included the addition of green technology, such as rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs and permeable pavement, as seen outside the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology in Downtown Syracuse, to reduce storm water runoff into the sewer systems.
Mahoney described the effort put into the revised plan as “successful, in a way all of Onondaga County can be proud of.”
Last week, an agreement was reached among the parties of the ’98 consent order—including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Atlantic States Legal Foundation, and Onondaga County—and the revised plan was approved by U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin. This makes Onondaga County one of the first counties in the nation to incorporate green technology with traditional “gray” building techniques to reduce storm water run-off and reduce lake pollution.
Mayor Driscoll said the creative way that the infrastructure needs have been met with green technology acts as a “model” for other counties across the state and throughout the nation.
“The rest of the country is now just waiting to see it we can pull it off,” Mahoney said.
Those in attendance included Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis, Onondaga Nation Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, and Atlantic States Legal Foundation President Samuel Sage, and Onondaga County Deputy Public Health Commissioner Jean Smiley, among many others.
For more information about the Onondaga Lake Improvement Project, visit ongov.net/lake