Onondaga Lake Superfund (NPL) Sites - Site Descriptions - Former Allied Chemical Plant on Willis Ave.

Former Allied Chemical Plant on Willis Ave.

A sub-site of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site  

New 2009 Fact Sheet


Progression of images through time:

1938 aerial view

1951 Aerial


1966 aerial view

Aerial view taken April of 1994

site area

Recent aerial view showing site perimeter

Site is adjacent to the Semet Tar Beds Superfund site


Site Description

This site is located on Willis Avenue in the Town of Geddes (Onondaga County), New York. The former manufacturing buildings have been demolished. The site was used by Allied Chemical as a chemical manufacturing plant until 1977. Surrounding land uses include industrial. Interstate I690 is located immediately to the north of the site. The plant specialized in chloroalkali production and the production of chlorinated benzenes. Site operations resulted in the contamination (by various contaminants including chlorinated benzenes and mercury) of site media. An RI/FS is underway. In addition, several IRMs have been completed and/or are underway. These include an IRM to design and construct a barrier and collection system to address the flow of contaminated groundwater from the site (and the adjacent Semet Tar Beds Site) to Onondaga Lake and an IRM for the construction of a Ground Water Treatment Plant (GWTP). In addition, a NAPL collection IRM has been implemented at the lake shore. Over 38,000 gallons of dichlorobenzene NAPL have been collected and properly disposed of off-site. Construction of the GWTP was completed in February 2006. Construction of the Semet portion of the Lakeshore Barrier Wall and groundwater collection system was completed in 2007. The Willis Avenue Portion of the Lakeshore Barrier Wall and collection system is currently being constructed.

Site Environmental Assessment

The primary contaminants at the site include mercury and chlorinated benzenes. Site media that have been impacted include groundwater and soil. Chlorinated benzene non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs)have been observed at and immediately downgradient (in the lake shore area)of the site. Contaminants in site groundwater exceed Part 703 water quality standards. Contamination in site media (including chlorinated benzenes in groundwater and the NAPLs) present a significant threat to the environment.

Partial List of site Contaminants

CAS # Contaminant Name Contaminated
More Information
  TRICHLOROBENZENE   http://www.cdc.gov
71-43-2 BENZENE   ATSDR Profile
108-90-7 CHLOROBENZENE   ATSDR Profile
  DIOXIN   Policy
7439-97-6 MERCURY   ATSDR Profile
91-20-3, 00090-12-0 NAPHTHALENE   ATSDR Profile
108-88-3 TOLUENE   ATSDR Profile
 1330-20-7 XYLENE (MIXED)   ToxFAQs

Summary of Project Completion Dates

Site Name: Allied Chemical - Willis Avenue Site
Site Code: 734026
Program: State Superfund Program
Locality: Solvay
DEC Region: 7

Operable Unit: 01A- IRM Pump and Treat Main Plant
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Action 04/01/1991

Operable Unit: 01B- IRM Pump and Treat Lakeshore
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 12/01/1992
Remedial Action 06/01/1993

Operable Unit: 01C- IRM DNAPL Recovery
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 11/01/1995
Remedial Action 03/01/1996

Operable Unit: 01D- IRM I-690 Storm Drain System
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 11/01/1996
Remedial Action 06/01/1997

Operable Unit: 01E- IRM I-690 Storm Drain System
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Action 08/01/1999

Operable Unit: 01F- IRM Semet Lakeshore Barrier Wall and Collection System
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 10/12/2006
Remedial Action 06/11/2008

Operable Unit: 01G- IRM DNAPL Recovery Enhancement
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 04/16/2002
Remedial Action 05/01/2003

Operable Unit: 01H- IRM I-690 Storm Drain System Pilot Test IRM
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 11/06/2002

Operable Unit: 01I- IRM Semet/Willis Pump Test IRM
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 10/15/2001
Remedial Action 03/19/2003

Operable Unit: 01J- IRM Ground Water Treatment Plant GWTP Construction IRM
Project Name Completion Date
Remedial Design 09/30/2005
Remedial Action 03/24/2006

History of the Solvay process

The Solvay process, also referred to as the ammonia-soda process, is the major industrial process for the production of soda ash (sodium carbonate). The ammonia-soda process was developed into its modern form by Ernest Solvay during the 1860s. The ingredients for this process are readily available and inexpensive: salt brine (from inland sources or from the sea) and limestone (from mines). The worldwide production of soda ash in 2005 has been estimated at 42 billion kilograms (92 billion pounds),which is more than six kilograms per year for each person on earth. Solvay-based chemical plants now produce roughly three-fourths of this supply, with the remainder being mined from natural deposits.

Byproducts and Wastes

The principal byproduct of the Solvay process is calcium chloride (CaCl2) in aqueous solution. The process has other waste and byproducts as well. Not all of the limestone that is calcined is converted to quicklime and carbon dioxide (in reaction II); the residual calcium carbonate and other components of the limestone becomes wastes. In addition, the salt brine used by the process is usually purified to remove magnesium and calcium ions, typically to form carbonates; otherwise, these impurities would lead to scale in the various reaction vessels and towers. These carbonates are additional waste products.

In inland plants, such as that in Solvay, New York, the byproducts have been deposited in "waste beds;" the weight of material deposited in these waste beds exceeded that of the soda ash produced by about 50%. These waste beds have led to water pollution, principally by calcium and chlorine ions. The waste beds in Solvay, New York substantially increased the salinity in nearby Onondaga Lake, which is among the most polluted lakes in the U.S.  and is a superfund pollution site. As such waste beds age, they do begin to support plant communities which have been the subject of several scientific studies.

Honeywell agrees to spend $451 million to clean up N.Y. lake

Posted 10/12/2006

Honeywell (HON) will spend $451 million to help clean up Onondaga Lake, once a sacred American Indian waterway turned into a toxic stew by a century of municipal and industrial pollution.

The agreement announced Thursday is one of the largest legal settlements against a polluter in state history, said Gov. George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Honeywell will commit to a nine-year cleanup plan that calls for dredging 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the five-mile long lake on Syracuse's northeastern limits, according to a consent order to be filed in U.S. District Court in Syracuse.

Additionally, Honeywell, based in Morris Township, N.J., agreed to seal 579 acres of lake bottom with a cap of sand, gravel and other material.

Meanwhile, Onondaga County is spending $500 million on a 15-year project to stop polluting the lake with sewage by 2012. The county is under a federal court order to make the lake safe for swimming and fishing and comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

Much of the lake's contamination is the legacy of a former Allied Chemical complex that closed in 1986, leaving behind mercury and other contaminants. Honeywell took over Allied in 1999 and became responsible for the pollution. Municipal sewage overflows have also fouled the lake.

Onondaga Lake was once the spiritual center of the Onondaga Nation, one of the six upstate New York tribes that formed the Iroquois Confederacy. The great Onondaga Chief Hiawatha once canoed on its waters. In the late 19th century, the lake was ringed by grand resorts and amusement parks and was a popular sports fishery.

Today, it is one of only three lakes in the country listed as a federal Superfund site. Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.