As part of Water Quality Awareness Weekend, on Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP) invited residents of Onondaga County to attend their annual Open House at the Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment facility, 650 Hiawatha Boulevard West in Syracuse.
WEP Commissioner Patricia Pastella and her staff hosted city residents interested in touring the treatment facility and learning more about Onondaga County’s efforts to restore and protect the waters of Onondaga Lake.
In addition to providing information on the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment facility’s success in improving the water quality of Onondaga Lake, information was provided on the County’s Save the Rain campaign.
The Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant (Metro) provides high quality treatment for 270,000 residents of Onondaga County and many industrial and commercial customers in the City of Syracuse.
Metro treats an average of 65 million gallons per day. Full secondary and tertiary treatment can be provided for up to 126 million gallons per day. Metro has a total hydraulic capacity of 240 million gallons per day during wet-weather events such as rainstorms.
Over the past decade, Onondaga County has invested $163.2 million in improving Metro’s treatment capacity and processes. Improvements at the Metro plant have reduced phosphorus discharges to the lake from the treatment plant by more than 80%. Since the addition of the advanced phosphorus treatment system which was completed in 2005, the phosphorus loading to Onondaga Lake has been less than 100 lbs per day. Reductions in phosphorus discharges from the Metro plant have resulted in substantially lower phosphorus concentrations in the lake water in recent years, below 20 parts per billion in 2008 and 2009, which is comparable to Oneida Lake. Less phosphorus in the lake has resulted in fewer and less severe algae blooms. Less algae also means clearer water and more oxygen for aquatic life.
More information on WEP can be found on the Onondaga County website: www.ongov.net/wep.