The Solvay wastebeds ring the southwest end of Onondaga Lake. In 1884 Honeywell’s predecessors beganproducing soda ash on the lakeshore. Roughly 6 million pounds of salty wastes, made up of chloride, sodium , and calcium were discharged daily to Onondaga Lake from the soda ash facility before it closed in 1986. Additional dumping created the Solvay wastebeds, which continue to leech toxins into Onondaga Lake today.
Methyl mercury, the mercury found in aquatic systems, is among the most poisonous chemicals known. Mercury has been measured in fish from Onondaga lake at levels that far surpass federal and state standards. 165,000 lbs of mercury was discharged into Onondaga Lake by Allied Chemical (Honeywell’s predecessor). Scientists estimate that 7 million cubic yards of lake-bottom sediments are contaminated as a result.