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Plans for wastebed worry Camillus neighbors

More than 100 people, mostly residents of Camillus, attended a public information meeting last week to learn about the draft design for the sediment consolidation area known as Wastebed 13 in Amboy and habitat restoration, part of the continued efforts to clean up Onondaga Lake.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health, United States Environmental Protection Agency and Honeywell released the drafts earlier this month.

One of the most contested aspects of the draft is the plan to deposit sediment dredged hydraulically from the lake bottom in the Amboy wastebed, which lies a few hundred yards from the Golden Meadows residential development. According to DEC documents, sediment and lake water would be piped into the wastebed, where it would settle in tubes and the water would be released, filtered and returned to Onondaga Lake.

Former Camillus Town Board member Kathy MacRae, who was recently appointed as a voting member of the DEC's Community Partnership Working Group for the Onondaga Lake Bottom Remediation Project, has been involved with the project since 2004. At that time, MacRae lived in Golden Meadows, directly across from Wastebed 13.

When the plans were first presented to the town, the board compiled a list of concerns and hired environmental engineers. Five years later, MacRae said the draft plans show that the town and residents' concerns have been taken seriously by the DEC and Honeywell. In particular, the plans were adjusted to use only a portion of the wastebed, not the entire area as previously proposed.

MacRae said Honeywell has staked out the area that would be used for the project so that residents can tour the area and get an idea visually of how the wastebed will be used.

The plans are still in draft stage, and have not yet come before the Camillus planning board.

For more information, visit townofcamillus.com or find the draft plans online at dec.ny.gov.

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