Current Status of Onondaga Lake

Onondaga Lake 1
The status of Onondaga lake has been improved steadily over the past 25 years. The ambient monitoring program (AMP) conducted by Onondaga County, as part of the state and federal cleanup of the lake, has proven to be a success by continuously monitoring the status of the lake. There are many factors that determine the quality of the lake, some of which (like some forms of industrial pollution, e.g. mercury) are not easily monitorable in the lake water. Among those that are more easily monitorable are: water clarity; bacteria levels; dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations, phosphorus concentrations; and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate concentrations.  Included below are charts and graphs that are included in the  Onondaga Lake Ambient Monitoring Program November 2010.

For more information on the status of Onondaga Lake visit the  Onondaga Lake Partnership. 

Secchi Disk Old
2002 Secchi Disk Transparency (used to determine water clarity) in Onondaga Lake South Deep Station.

Secchi Disk
2006 Secchi Disk Transparency (used to determine water clarity) in Onondaga Lake South Deep Station.

Onondaga Lake Bacteria 2001

2001 Bacterial Testing in Onondaga Lake 

Onondaga Lake Bacteria 2006
2006 Bacterial Testing in Onondaga Lake

figure 2.5 average amonia
Average Ammonia Concentrations Discharged from Metro 1995-2006

figure 2.4 thumbnail
Trends of Nitrogen Loads from Metro to Onondaga Lake and Concentrations at the South Deep Station, 2006

figure 2.6 average daily phosphorus
Average Daily Phosphorus Discharges from Metro 1990-2006

Onondaga Lake Depth
Contour Map of Bathymetry, Onondaga Lake

For more on the chemistry of Onondaga Lake, consider taking a course in the ETG program at Onondaga Community College. Review some of the courses available at

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