Onondaga Lake as a Superfund Site:
Onondaga Lake is a Superfund Site. In the case of Onondaga Lake, a Superfund Site is an uncontrolled area where hazardous waste is located, affecting local ecosystems and people. Superfund sites involve states, local communities, and other partners to clean up the area. The cleanup accomplishments are then recorded and measured on the EPA website:http://www.epa.gov/superfund/.
In 2004, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a $449 million proposal for the cleanup of Onondaga Lake. Onondaga Lake was separated into 8 sections, known as sediment management units (SMUs). Within these areas, different remedies will and have begun to occur.
This proposal included dredging, capping, removal of non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs), reducing concentrations of chemical parameters of interest, oxygenation pilot study, and monitoring.
Dredging is an underwater excavation. With this remedy, it is estimated that 2.65 million cubic yards of mercury will be removed.
The process of capping covers contaminated soils to prevent movement of pollutants. In Onondaga Lake, sand and gravel will prevent mercury from entering the environment. Non-aqueous phase liquids are liquids that are not completely soluble in water, so they do not completely mix with water.
Another approach is the Biological Alternative for the Removal of Mercury (BARM). This technique uses agriculture and genetic engineering to alter aquatic plants so they can collect mineral including mercury. The mercury can then be sold for revenue, which in turn funds the project.