Much of the community’s distrust of the Onondaga Lake comes from years of negative stigma. Dr. Driscoll explains, “The very polluted Onondaga Lake has been so much of the region’s history. It’s been on the papers, the news, when smelling its odor at the state fair – it was terrible.” According to Onondaga Community College, before the American Revolution, Onondaga Lake played a major role for the locals of the area. The lake was the center of the Iroquois Confederacy before the American Revolution, and was considered to be sacred. The Onondagas, a group that was part of the Iroquois Confederacy, revealed to the French in 1654 that salt springs were present in the southern shores of the lake, and by 1793 commercial salt production began on the lakeshore. Salt production became a huge part of the Syracuse economy, the city of Syracuse was nicknamed “The Salt City” as a result. Salt production was not the only industry that took advantage of Onondaga Lake. In 1881, the Solvay Process Company, currently known as Honeywell, began production of soda ash. The salt brines and limestones found on the lakeshore helped with the production of that product. In 1918, Solvay Process Company started the production of organic chemicals and chlorine gas. Some of the waste that was created during the production of those chemicals were land filled on the western sections of the lake while in other cases the waste was directly discharged into the lake. Meanwhile the population of Syracuse was also increasing rapidly, according to census data, in 1880 the population of the city was 51,792, which increased to 171,717 by 1920. With the increase in population, the amount of waste and nutrients entering the lake also increased, which contaminated the lake at a faster rate. All of those factors contributed to the rapid degradation of the water quality for Onondaga Lake. By 1940, the lake was declared unsafe for swimming and by 1970 fishing was banned on the lake. The poor water quality was mocked by the media and the locals. As citizens drove by it they could smell the unpleasant odor that would come from the lake. On that early April morning, Lepietro did not complain about any unpleasant smells coming off the lake, however he still did not trust what was within the water, because by this point Onondaga Lake had a negative reputation for far too long.