Onondaga Lake Superfund (NPL) Sites - Site Descriptions - Geddes Brook/ Ninemile Creek

Geddes Brook/Ninemile Creek

A sub-site of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site 

New 2010 Fact Sheet

Figure 1: Geddes Brook/Ninemile Creek Superfund sub-site, divided into two Operable Units.

Documents/ News

DEC to Unveil Proposed Cleanup Solutions for Geddes Brook/Nine Mile Creek Sites -

Geddes Brook Ninemile Creek OU1
Record of Decision (ROD) - April 2009 - text only Appendix and Figures - Appendices

pdf document Comments on Operable Unit 1 of the Geddes Brook/Ninemile Creek -- Cover Letter

pdf documentOperable Unit 1: Supplemental Feasibility Study Draft Report

Geddes Brook Ninemile Creek OU2 Proposed Plan



Geddes Brook and Ninemile Creek are located in Onondaga County, NY, to the southwest of Onondaga Lake. Geddes Brook originates in the town of Camillus and flows through the town of Geddes before it enters Ninemile Creek just west of the New York State Fairgrounds. The LCP Bridge Street site, which includes the West Flume, is a source of mercury and other contaminants to Geddes Brook, Ninemile Creek, and eventually the lake. Geddes Brook also receives surface runoff from roads, and both residential and industrial areas. Numerous municipal and industrial/construction and debris landfills (e.g. the Mathews Ave landfill, an Allied/Honeywell site) are located in the watershed of Geddes Brook. Ninemile Creek begins at Otisco Lake, flows through Camillus, and flows between seven Solvay wastebeds before entering Onondaga Lake at Lakeland. The wastebeds contain millions of tons of industrial waste from the Solvay process and other chemical manufacturing (Allied Chemical and LCP). Some of these wastes were released into or have leached into Ninemile Creek.


Environmental Issues

The sediments and floodplain soils of Geddes Brook and Ninemile Creek have been highly contaminated with mercury and other metals; chlorinated organic compounds (e.g. dioxin and hexachlorobenzene); and non-chlorinated organics (e.g. PAHs).


Environmental studies indicate that mercury is transported into Onondaga Lake from the Geddes Brook/Ninemile Creek system in two ways:

1) A drainage ditch connecting the LCP plant with Geddes Brook (called “West Flume”) has been the main conduit of mercury contamination in the Ninemile Creek watershed. This source has been essentially eliminated since the cleanup of the West Flume as part of the LCP site remediation (see Fact Sheet # 8).

2) “Pulses” of mercury are mobilized during high-flow periods (e.g. after rainfall). This occurs because mercury-contaminated sediments in the creeks and floodplains are re-suspended and carried out into the lake. This remediation is intended to stop this source of mercury to the lake.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

There appear to be two sources for PAHs within Geddes Brook and Ninemile Creek: one far upstream in Geddes Brook and one in Ninemile Creek, less than a kilometer upstream of Onondaga Lake. Sediments in both of these areas have elevated concentrations of PAHs, including anthracene, benzoperylene, chrysene, fluoranthene, phenanthrene, and pyrene.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Hexachlorobenzene

The sediments of lower Ninemile Creek. are also contaminated with PCBs and hexachlorobenzene. Both bioaccumulate in fish, and are toxic at relatively low concentrations.

Dissolved solids (salts)

Groundwater, and probably surface runoff from Solvay wastebeds adjacent to the site (#9—15) contribute large amounts of dissolved calcium, chloride, and sodium to Ninemile Creek starting upstream of Geddes Brook. The wastebeds also contribute iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and ammonia to the creek. Historically, these salt inputs were much greater, and had a major impact on the chemistry of Onondaga Lake (Effler et al., 1986). These impacts have been significantly reduced after the closure of the Allied-Honeywell facility in 1986.

What's being done to address the problem?

The cleanup of a Superfund site can be divided into a number of "operable units," depending on the complexity of the problems encountered at the site. The NYSDEC has divided the GB/NMC site into two Operable Units, shown in Figure 1.

OU1 includes the channel sediments and floodplain soils of lower Geddes Brook (from the West Flume to Ninemile Cr.) and lower Ninemile Creek from ~600 ft upstream of Geddes Brook to just downstream of the I-690 overpass. This part of OU1 has been further subdivided into two reaches (BC and CD). OU2 includes the channel sediments and floodplain soils/sediments of the AB section of lower Ninemile Creek, which extends from the downstream end of OU1 to Onondaga Lake. This section flows along the west side of Wastebeds 1- 8.
OU1 will be remediated first. The proposed Plan calls for complete removal of contaminated sediments and soils in and around Geddes Brook, and removal of most contaminated sediments (up to 5-ft deep) and floodplain soils (up to 3-ft. deep) from reaches BC, and CD in Ninemile Creek. Areas where contaminated sediments are more than 5-ft. deep will be capped. The current plan calls for disposing of the contaminated materials at the now-remediated LCP Bridge St. site. Eventually this site will be capped.

Partial List of site Contaminants

CAS # Contaminant Name Contaminated
More Information
  Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds    ATSDR Profile

Contacts for more information and comments

Timothy Larson, Project Manager

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

625 Broadway, 12th floor, Albany, NY 12233-7016
tjlarson@gw.dec.state.ny.us                                                                                                                                      Phone: 518-402-9676

Documents for this site are available for public inspection at:
Atlantic States Legal Foundation Depository Library
658 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse NY 13204-3711                                                                Phone: 315-475-1170 http://www.aslf.org/

Onondaga County Public Library
Central Branch at the Galleries
447 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202                                                                            Phone: (315) 435-1800
Hours: M, Th, Fri, Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Tu, W, 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7016                                                                                              Phone: (518) 402-9676
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 7
615 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse, NY 13204-2400                                                                                     Phone: (315) 426-7400
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment


This Fact Sheet was funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technical Assistance Grant program.