1881 — The Solvay Process Company was incorporated. The company’s main product was soda ash, a substance used to make glass, chemicals, detergents, and paper.
1883 — The Solvay Process Company obtained permission to drill for salt springs at the shore of Onondaga Lake.
1884 — Soda ash production commenced at about 20 tons per day. Much of the Solvay waste material was dumped directly into Onondaga Lake. Over the years, wastebeds were built in wetlands along the southwest perimeter of the lake.
1888 — A caustic soda operation was added (possibly the first mercury cell began discharging mercury into Onondaga Lake). Over the next 10 years, caustic soda and soda ash production reaches 500 tons/day.
1907 — The New York State Attorney General threatened the Solvay Process Company with legal action over the direct discharge of Solvay waste material into Onondaga Lake.
1918 — Solvay Process Company begins producing organic chemicals.
1920 — Five chemical companies (including Solvay Process Company) consolidated and formed Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation.
1950 — Chlorine production by mercury cell began. Mercury was discharged directly to Onondaga Lake.
1958 — Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation changed its name to the Allied Chemical Corporation.
1970 — A fishing ban was imposed on Onondaga Lake due to mercury contamination. The US Attorney General sued Allied Chemical in order to halt the dumping of an estimated 25 pounds of mercury per day.
1981 — Allied Chemical changed its name to the Allied Corporation.
1985 — Allied Corporation merges with the Signal companies and becomes Allied-Signal Inc. The company announces plans to close local operations known as the Syracuse Works.
1986 — The Syracuse Works ceased production. Allied-Signal Inc. began to dismantle the facility.
1989 — New York State filed a lawsuit against Allied-Signal Inc. for past and continuing contamination of Onondaga Lake.
1990 — An undisclosed source of mercury was discovered discharging into Nine Mile Creek (an Onondaga Lake tributary that flows past Allied-Signal factory sites).
1992 — New York State and Allied-Signal Inc. signed an interim Consent Decree detailing the elements of a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study of the lake to be conducted by Allied-Signal.
1994 — Onondaga Lake-bottom and subsites (such as the waste beds) were added to the Superfund National Priorities List.
1999 — AlliedSignal and Honeywell Inc. merged and became Honeywell Inc.
2005 — Honeywell Inc. agreed to a partial cleanup of Onondaga Lake.
2006 — A Consent Decree was signed between NY and Honeywell Inc. making the plans for the partial cleanup official.
* Timeline adapted from Ed Michalenko’s “Pedogenesis and Microcommunity Succession in a Chlor-alkali Manufacturer Waste.” Doctoral Thesis 1991, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Onondaga Lake Cleanup Corp.’s “The State of Onondaga Lake” 2001.