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Dr. Steven Effler, "The Cultural Eutrophication of Onondaga Lake"Campus Calendar

Hydrology & Biogeochemistry Seminar

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: 110 Moon Library

Event Description: Onondaga Lake is located along the northern edge of the City of Syracuse. Site of an early Jesuit mission in the 1656 and birthplace of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the lake has been closely tied to the city of Syracuse for more than 200 years. Commercial salt mining in the late 1700ís led to the development of the Erie Canal and by the late 1800ís Onondaga Lake was a popular tourist attraction with beaches, resorts and amusement parks to lure residents from New York City to the area. Unfortunately this did not last. The Solvay process was located along its shores to take advantage of the natural salt brines and easy transportation. The sewage treatment plant for the growing city of Syracuse was built in 1925 and discharged its primary effluent directly into the lake until it was upgraded in the 1950s. Steel and other heavy industries were also located along the lake shore. Allied Chemical started chlorine production in the 1940 using electrochemical cells which inadvertently discharged as much as 20 lb of mercury per day into the lake. By 1940, swimming was banned in the lake and in 1968, a Federal lake study declared Onondaga Lake the most polluted lake within the Lake Ontario basin. The lake was declared a Federal and State superfund site in 1994 due to the combined nutrient and industrial pollution. In the last 30 years, Onondaga Lake has made a remarkable comeback from one of the most polluted lakes in the nation to where it now serves as an international demonstration site for lake restoration.

Emily Stephan

Sponsor: Hydrology & Biogeochemistry Seminar

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