New York Lake ‘Most Polluted’ In America, 2 Lakes In Top 10
Two lakes in New York State are among the most polluted lakes in America. One lake is the most polluted lake in all of the United States.
Unsafe water kills more people each year than all types of violence combined, according to Discover Amazing Animals. That's why the website reported on the 10 most polluted lakes in the United States.
2 New York Lakes Among Most Polluted In The World
Sorry New Yorkers, but this is not something the Empire State should be proud of. Two lakes are among the 10 most polluted lakes in the United States. Plus, America's most polluted lake is found in New York State. It also happens to be one of the most polluted lakes in the world.
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Oneida Lake, Madison, Oswego, Oneida and Onondaga Counties, New York
Oneida Lake, the largest lake in New York State, which is found about 10 miles north of Syracuse, is the fifth most polluted lake in the United States, according to Discover Amazing Animals.
"Algal blooms and rooted vegetation hampered the recreational use of Oneida Lake, prompting the state to add the lake to its list of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act in 1998. Excess nutrients, particularly phosphorus, from agricultural, urban, and suburban runoff fueled algal blooms in the lake," Discover Amazing Animals states.
Largest Lake in New York State Among Most Polluted in U.S.
With a surface area of about 80 miles, Oneida Lake is the biggest lake in New York State. The lake is about 21 miles long and 5 miles wide. It flows through four New York counties: Madison, Oswego, Oneida and Onondaga counties, according to the DEC.
While researching the lake, I was pretty surprised to find "Why does Oneida Lake smell?" as the most popular question on Google. The Oneida Lake Association provided the following answer:
Odors of algae, vegetation, and fish mix together, saturating the air with a rich blending. Midges and related aquatic insects rise from the lake's depths and clouds of them hover above you while their body casings, discarded in the hatching process, punctuate the surface of the water below.
Oneida Lake is a relatively shallow natural lake with an average depth of 22 feet.
Onondaga Lake, New York
Onondaga Lake in Central New York is considered the most polluted lake in America.
"The most polluted lake in the United States is Onondaga Lake in Central New York. It’s not only one of the most polluted lakes in the country but also ranks among the most polluted lakes in the world," Discover Amazing Animals writes about Onondaga Lake. "For years, raw sewage was thrown directly into the lake, resulting in high nitrogen levels and algae blooms."
America's Most Polluted Lake Found in Central New York One Of The World's Most Polluted
In the 1880s, a number of industries discharged waste, including mercury, salt processing residue, ammonia, organic compounds and PCBs into the lake. This lasted for over 100 years, according to the DEC.
Swimming was banned in the lake in the 1940s and fishing was banned in the 1970s due to mercury contamination. Officials recently said the lake is now safe to swim in. Fishing resumed in 1986.
"Because of pollution control efforts (which began in the 1970s) and more recent cleanup work, the lake is now the cleanest it has been in over 100 years," the DEC states.
Onondaga Lake is found in Central New York, near the edge of Syracuse. The lake covers 4.6 square miles. It's about 1 mile wide and 4.6 miles long.