ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The waters around Rochester are getting cleaner. This can be seen best by the low levels of toxins in fish and wildlife around the area.

The Rochester Embayment runs from Hamlin to Webster and since 1987, the DEC said only one fish per month based on the level of toxins within the fish caught in the embayment, including the Genesee River.

Specifically, PCB, Mirex, and Dioxin are toxins harmful to human health, but work done over the past 20 years to reduce pollution and clean the waterways has allowed the toxic levels to fall. Those levels have not fallen to zero, but acceptable levels according to the Monroe County Department of Health. 

This area was deemed as an Area of Concern (AOC) with a Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) when it comes to consuming fish. This has been in place for many years. That title will be discussed in a meeting detailed below. The DEC has studied toxic levels in certain wildlife as well as sediment and other parts of the wetlands around Rochester to move forward with a removal of the Beneficial Use Impairment.

Here is a statement from the DEC:

What does the BUI removal in the Rochester Embayment mean for Rochester’s citizens and the environment?

Removal of the Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption Beneficial Use Impairment is one indicator of the recovery of the ecosystem within the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern resulting from the fulfillment of commitments established in the original Remedial Action Plans over 20 years ago. 

Over this time period, NYSDEC and local, state, and federal partners have successfully completed a multitude of restoration actions to get at the root problems facing the Rochester Embayment, including the presence of contaminants within the ecosystem. Although the Rochester Embayment has come along way since first being designated as an Area of Concern, continued ecosystem recovery and long-term stewardship continue to be priorities. 

Citizens within the city of Rochester and from the surrounding area are advised to continue to observe fish consumption advisories as established by the New York State Department of Health.

The Lower Genesee River and the Rochester Embayment are still subject to the Lake Ontario specific consumption advisory.

A public forum on how Monroe County and the NYSDEC is cleaning the Rochester Embayment is happening Thursday, August 27 at noon. Information to join is here:

Thursday, Aug 27, 2020 12:00 pm | 1 hour | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Meeting number: 161 238 5707

Password: B2FrPRWck56

Join by phone

1-518-549-0500 Local

Access code: 161 238 5707