Monday, February 26, 2018

Lake Flower Contamination Clean-Up Planned

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced they will begin remedial construction activities to address contamination in Pontiac Bay of Lake Flower and Brandy Brook.

A public availability session has been set for Tuesday, March 13th from 7 to 9 pm at the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main Street, Saranac Lake.

During the session, property owners and residents will have an opportunity to meet with DEC and State Department of Health (DOH) to discuss 2018 construction details including sequencing, scheduling, controls, and other aspects of the cleanup. This contamination is related to the Saranac Lake Gas Co. Inc., site located at Payeville Road, Saranac Lake, Essex County.

From the late 1800s to approximately the 1940s, the site was used for manufacturing lighting gas via coal gasification for the village of Saranac Lake. The past activities at the site have resulted in contamination both on and off site, including Brandy Brook and Pontiac Bay of Lake Flower.

Pursuant to the March 2015 Record of Decision (ROD) for Operable Unit 03: Pontiac Bay on Lake Flower and the March 2016 ROD for Operable Unit 02: Brandy Brook, contaminated sediment and soils in Pontiac Bay of Lake Flower and in and along Brandy Brook will be removed and disposed of to be protective of human health and the environment.

According to these decisions, sediment dredged from Pontiac Bay will be loaded onto a scow barge that offloads its contents into a covered temporary fabric structure erected on the banks of Pontiac Bay. The sediment will then be dewatered and/or stabilized inside the structure for direct offsite disposal. Dewatered sediment will be loaded into trucks that exit onto Route 86 (River Street) for transport to an offsite commercial landfill. Sediment excavated from Brandy Brook will be loaded into off-road dump trucks for transport to staging area for dewatering and offsite disposal.

Work is scheduled to start in April and continue into November 2018, with some restoration activities to be completed in spring 2019.

A Community Air Monitoring Plan (CAMP) will be implemented to monitor for dust during excavation and to help ensure that contaminated soil is not released to the surrounding environment during the cleanup.

Excavated areas will be backfilled with material that provides a suitable ecological habitat. The site cleanup activities will result in improved drainage along Brandy Brook and Pontiac Bay due to upgrading and cleaning culverts, clearing fallen trees and debris from Brandy Brook, and reworking drainage to discharge further into Pontiac Bay allowing for less sedimentation close to the shore.

A portion of DEC’s Lake Flower Boat Launch and the village of Saranac Lake’s property adjacent to Pontiac Bay will be required for dewatering and transfer operations, equipment staging, and other activities. This includes the “Ice Palace” parcel. DEC says it will require the “Ice Palace” parcel is left in a condition that allows it to be utilized during Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival.

The DEC Lake Flower Boat Launch is expected to remain open during this time, but parking will not be available. The public will need to find alternate parking after launching their boats or use the DEC Second Pond Boat Launch. Paddlers and others with car tops boats are encouraged to use the DEC Ampersand Bay Hand Launch.

The project is being funded and conducted pursuant to terms of the State Superfund program. Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available on NYSDEC’s Environmental Site Remediation Database (by entering the Site ID, 516008).

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6 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    This is insane. No parking at the launch – but it will remain open? This can’t mean that the trailer parking by the launch will be closed. You can’t go putting trailers all over the village streets? If that’s the case just close the whole thing. There isn’t sufficient parking at the second pond launch. It is usually at over capacity with trailers parked next to the highway (even after it was made larger).

    This gonna kill some SL business this summer.

    I would love to see numbers for the SL Wild Forest including these lakes. No registers but I bet it exceeds the HPW #’s especially when you factor in LF, Lower, Middle, and Upper SL. What is the count on just the “Saranac Islands” camping? Not to mention that campers there actually pay to camp – $22 per night.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks. So let me make sure I have this right. They are cleaning up the downstream site but currently have no plan for remediation at the site where the contamination is/was coming from?

  2. Charlie S says:

    “This gonna kill some SL business this summer.”

    Back in the day (the late 1800s to approximately the 1940s) if there was some foresight we wouldn’t be having to pull these poisons from the water up near Saranac Lake. Same with the PCP’s in the Hudson River that GE released over a decades span of time up until the mid 70’s. Personally I don’t think these bodies of water will ever be the same due to these poisons no matter how much they claim to pull out.

    I met fishermen on the Hudson River south of Albany who told me (a few years ago) that the fishing got worse when the State started dredging, which made sense as they more than likely stirred up those PCB’s which then drifted downstream. The State came off like they had the PCB’s contained in those area as they were dredging but we believe what we wish to believe and some people are fools all of the time.

    I couldn’t help but notice your ‘business before environment’ attitude Paul…..again.

    • Paul says:

      Not business before environment, just noting a fact. You seem to often view a fact as an opinion. Strange?

    • Paul says:

      Charlie, My comment is not “business before environment’. You were confusing a fact with an opinion, not mine. I was not saying they shouldn’t do it. Did I say that? Please explain. You like to see the facts right?