By Justin Paura SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga Lake has consistently held a reputation of being dirty and not safe for the human skin. Despite that notion, a recent survey came out and said that at least 31,800 Central New York residents would take a dip in the lake. This survey came as part of a $330,000 study being done by Onondaga County to decide whether or not they should build a beach at the lake.
For each of the past ten years, the north end of the lake passed state standards for low bacteria count and in 2015 there were 50 people who swam in the lake just to prove its safety. Onondaga County Environmental Health Director Travis Glazier said that those who spend the most time at Onondaga Lake Park are most likely the ones who feel safe swimming in the lake.
“People’s time in Onondaga Lake Park is directly correlated with their doubling of their potential to swim in Onondaga Lake.” Glazier said. “The more time you go and spend at Onondaga Lake Park, you’re twice as likely to swim in Onondaga Lake.”
One person who would disagree with Glazier’s findings is Amanda Nelson. Nelson has lived in the Baldwinsville area for the majority of her life and heads down to the park once a week to take walks with her husband and dog. She said that she would never feel safe going in the water and is against the idea of a beach coming.
“It would still hold the value it has [to me] now, but putting a beach in?” Nelson said. “I wouldn’t want to go to that beach knowing what I know.”
Another survey part of the study asked Central New Yorkers if they think the water is safe enough to swim in, different from asking whether or not they would go in the water themselves. 57% of people said they don’t think the water is safe, 22% said it is safe and the other 21% said they don’t know.