Thursday, August 11, 2022

Preview of Salt Panel Recommendations

lower st. regis lake

The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force is nearing completion of its first round of work and a report on its findings and recommendations could be available in the coming month.

During the first Adirondack Lakes Alliance symposium in recent years, Adirondack Watershed Institute Executive Director Dan Kelting previewed the panel’s recommendations. Here’s a look at some of what he said was included in recent drafts:

  • The state should adopt the federal EPA standards for chloride concentrations;

  • The state should set a chloride concentration management target of 10 parts per million for Adirondack surface waters, a goal meant to protect aquatic ecosystems;

  • Improve salt application tracking at state and local levels: How much salt is actually being put on the roads?;

  • Require well testing at the time of home sales;

  • Extend the statute of limitations for homeowners to file claims about salt contamination;

  • Establish pilot projects to study chemical alternatives to road salt, no salt use in reduced speed zones and the recovery of the most salt-contaminated lakes.

The symposium brought together people from lake associations across the park, researchers and conservationists to discuss the challenges facing Adirondack lakes. The nonprofit organization behind the gathering was quiet during the pandemic, but its leaders said it plans to gear up its programming in the coming months and years.

One session was supposed to focus on the use of the herbicide ProcellaCOR to treat invasive milfoil infestations, but the talk was canceled due to ongoing litigation over the Lake George Park Commission’s plan to do just that.

Lake George Park staff did present an update on its proposed septic inspection program. The plan, which would require homeowners near the lake and its tributaries to inspect and pump their septic tanks every five years, could serve as a model for other Adirondack communities While around 25% of homes around the country rely on septic systems, estimates suggest 70% or more of homes in the Adirondacks rely on the systems, which if they fail can pose a hazard to nearby water sources. Draft regulations are being finalized and should be released soon.


The view of Lower St. Regis Lake from Paul Smith’s College, which hosted the first in-person Adirondack Lakes Alliance symposium since 2019. Photo by Zachary Matson.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

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