While the Onondaga Lake improvement is a local project under local responsibility, it will have environmental impacts that extend to the Great Lakes and Canada. After all, Lake Ontario is fed by the upstate New York lake. Because the U.S.-Canadian water protection pact includes water quality in Lake Ontario, this public works project has attracted widespread interest from the U.S. Congress—which led to the 1999 Onondaga Lake Partnership.

The partnership includes the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the federal level, the New York State Attorney General's office and the Department of Environmental Conservation at the state level, and the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County at the local level. The Onondaga Lake Improvement Project is under jurisdiction of the Department of Water Environment Protection, which is also responsible for collection and treatment of virtually all wastewater generated within a county of nearly 500,000. The department operates six wastewater treatment plants, approximately 120 pumping stations, about 3000 miles of pipeline, and four drainage districts.

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