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Superfund Job Training Program Provides Opportunities for Syracuse Residents at Hazardous Waste Cleanups; Many Graduates to Work on Cleanup of Onondaga Lake

Release Date: 09/12/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov or Larisa Romanowski, (518) 703-0101

(Syracuse, N.Y.) Tonight, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck will recognize the newest graduates of an EPA job training program designed to prepare students to fill jobs related to the cleanup of the Onondaga Lake Superfund site. EPA’s Superfund Job Training Initiative provides free job training to people living in communities affected by toxic waste sites. After completing the program, participants earn certifications that prepare them for careers in environmental cleanup work. The graduation ceremony will be held at the South Side Innovation Center on Salina Street in Syracuse. Most of the 14 graduates will be hired to work on the cleanup of Onondaga Lake. All of the graduates will be qualified to fill positions at other hazardous waste cleanup sites.

“Environmental cleanups create new jobs,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “EPA promotes local job training in communities that have been hard hit by toxic pollution and we are happy to launch this program in Syracuse.”

Dredging began in Onondaga Lake earlier this summer to remove lake bottom sediment contaminated with mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and other dangerous chemicals. The dredging project is being performed by Honeywell International with oversight by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the EPA, and the New York State Department of Health and is expected to continue to 2016. Dredged lake sediment is transported four miles by a double-walled pipeline to a lined consolidation area located on the former Allied Chemical waste bed located off Airport Road in the town of Camillus. Once there, the sediment is dried and permanently stored in heavy-duty plastic tubes. The water that drains from the tubes is treated onsite at the Camillus facility and pumped to Onondaga County’s Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Facility for further treatment before being pumped back to the lake. Once the dredging has been completed, the tubes will be capped in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

In cooperation with EPA’s SuperJTI program, Honeywell International and its contractors, Parsons Corporation and O’Brien & Gere, reserved a number of jobs, most of them at the Camillus facility, for the local graduates of the SuperJTI program.

The EPA worked with the Center for Community Alternatives to serve as the local liaison. Fourteen people were selected for the training spots. Today’s graduates completed their two-week training program on August 31 and are now certified in life skills, 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, Occupational Safety and Health (General Industry), CPR and First Aid.

Honeywell estimates that 500 Central New York scientists, engineers and skilled craft laborers are working on the project, and Honeywell plans to hire more local workers as the project continues.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2. More information about EPA’s SuperJTI is available at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/community/sfjti/.
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