Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Tupper Lake’s water woes

Tupper Lake building

Tupper Lake looks to switch back to lake water after long move to wells

It isn’t always easy for Adirondack communities looking for a public water source.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about lingering frustrations in Ticonderoga over a long-running move to groundwater wells. Supervisor Mark Wright earlier this month handily beat back an electoral challenge there.

In Tupper Lake, incoming mayor Mary Fontana will have her hands full with a major project to switch the village water supply back to Tupper Lake and overhaul an old filtration plant. The village had moved to new groundwater wells in 2018, but a problem with iron in the ground is creating a problem of foul-looking water coming out of the taps.

The village also has a longstanding issue with elevated levels of chlorine treatment byproducts that could be a health risk under long term exposure.

Residents continue to grow concerned with the water situation, urging action from state and local leaders at a community meeting this summer. Village leaders say they are on the path to a solution.

They tested a new filtration method on the lake this summer and are moving toward plans to overhaul the old water treatment plant. But the project is not fully funded and could still be years away from replacing the water residents use each day.

 

Hinckley Reservoir Dam Relicense

The New York Power Authority is looking to extend its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license to generate power from the Hinckley Reservoir in the southwestern Adirondacks, where the reservoir stretches across the Blue Line.

The state power authority operates the Jarvis power plant at the Hinckley dam and is in the long federal licensing process to renew for another 40 years. The dam has a capacity to generate 9 MW and average annual production of a little less than 30,000 MWh per year.

FERC in September issued a draft environmental impact assessment outlining changes to automate a gate at the site and altering operations to better manage dissolved oxygen levels. The federal regulators also pressed the Power Authority to continue providing continual base flow of 160 cubic feet per second through the powerhouse rather than reaching a daily average of that flow. The state in licensing materials has cited the need to maintain existing energy sources as part of its goal to transition fully to renewable energy in the coming decades.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is soliciting public comments on a 40-year water quality certification necessary to continue operations. Numerous other hydroelectric projects in the Adirondacks are in the process of seeking multi-decade extensions to operating licenses.

ALSO: A correction

In last week’s newsletter, I added an extra 0 on the volume of home heating fuel spill I mentioned. Thanks to careful reader who raised a red flag about the massive spill I reported. The actual volume was 250 gallons of spilled fuel, still not nothing.

 

Photo at top: Tupper Lake continues to grapple with the long term challenge of finding a public water source. Explorer file photo.

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.




One Response

  1. Paul says:

    “In last week’s newsletter, I added an extra 0 on the volume of home heating fuel spill I mentioned. Thanks to careful reader who raised a red flag about the massive spill I reported. The actual volume was 250 gallons of spilled fuel, still not nothing.”

    Good job Boreas! Thanks Zack. Yes, zero gallons is about what we want…

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