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New York's Lake Onondaga was once considered among the most polluted lakes in America. Today, due in part to the use of Calgon Carbon's granular activated carbon (GAC) and reactivation system, the water quality has been restored to its best levels in 100 years.
The project, expected to be completed in 2016, has utilized GAC and reactivated carbon for two of the four major cleanup projects: creation of a barrier wall along the shoreline for preventing the migration of contamination and the collection of water for treatment; and removing and treating almost 3 billion gallons of lake water and installation of an isolation cap covering 450 acres of the lake bottom to seal remaining contaminants in place.
At the end of 2013, only 20% of the lake bottom cap material had been installed, but by the end of 2014, progress had reached 62%. To date, 100% of the total lake water has been treated, along with removal of 100% of the lake material. Already, more than 110 species of fish, birds, and mammals have already returned to the restored wetlands and nearby areas.
As a result of restoration efforts and activities, the areas directly surrounding the lake have been revitalized with the increase in visitors and park-goers. This has sparked economic growth in the Onondaga Lake community. An example of this growth is the recent announcement that local colleges and universities have been awarded a $20 million dollar grant for the construction of a LEED gold building that will become the Water Research and Education Center, to further study restoration ecology; something the Onondaga Lake restoration project is considered to be a textbook example of.