Posts Tagged ‘stormwater’

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Storm water and sewers

Several times a year, usually following a heavy rain, sewage that has not been fully treated overwhelms the Ticonderoga treatment plant and flows into the La Chute River, and shortly after that, into Lake Champlain. (Check out an overview of the latest “State of the Lake” report here)

There’s nothing secret about it; the town sends out email alerts whenever it happens. The Department of Environmental Conservation allows it, up to a point. If there are too many rain storms and too many overflows, the town is fined because, well, you can’t assess a fine on God.

Ticonderoga is not alone. A half century ago, communities saw no reason not to mix sewage and storm water and send it all to the treatment plant, and that worked until more development led to more effluent, which in time exceeded sewer-plant capacity.

The growth, however, has not been sufficient to pay for sewer plant expansion. Small communities in tourist areas lack enough people among whom to divide up the cost of expanded capacity. Also, sending flow through a treatment plant comes at a cost, and treating clean water makes little financial sense.

The Ticonderoga story has a happy ending, however. Within the next few weeks the town will “throw the switch” on an $8 million project primarily designed to separate storm water from sanitary sewer effluent. The storm water will be channeled into a “day stream” that is dry except in times of high water. It will receive some basic treatment for removal of trash and litter before being diverted to the river. The rainwater will not go through the treatment plant, which will be freed up to do the job in which it was intended.

Storm water, of course, has its own issues and its own set of needs. But municipalities are coming to understand that storm water and sewer flow are two different things.

Top: Highway and water supervisor Jason Monroe, left, and Town Supervisor Craig Leggett discuss water and sewer needs in the town of Chester. Photo by Cindy Schultz

Editor’s note: This first appeared in the Explorer’s weekly Water Line newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Smell of Rain 

fog and humidity in the forest
It’s going to rain. Can you smell it?  

Being able to smell rain as it approaches isn’t something imagined. There really can be a distinctly heady aroma in the air before it rains. And it’s a smell that I’ve always found calming. In fact, there are several clean, earthy, strikingly pleasing, yet distinctly different smells that many of us associate with rainfall. They occur before, during, and after showers and storms. And all of them are scientifically identifiable.  

Ozone 

Before it rains; as the wind begins to pick up and the clouds thicken or roll in, you may become aware of a noticeably fresh scent in the air. That sharp, clear aroma is ozone; a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms bonded together (O3) whose name comes from the Greek verb for smell; ozein. It’s the same gas we associate with the layer of our atmosphere that protects us from too much sunlight.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lake Champlain’s 2018 State of the Lake Report Issued

lake champlain state of the lake 2018The Lake Champlain Basin Program has released the 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report. The report, produced every three years, provides an assessment of the condition of Lake Champlain. The report also serves to provide the public and resource managers with a better understanding of threats to the lake’s health, as well as opportunities to meet the challenges ahead.

The 2018 report emphasizes the importance of community engagement and recreation opportunities to help stakeholders connect with the Lake, and understand the importance of protecting this resource. The report highlights the success of the LCBP Boat Launch Steward program, in which over ten thousand boaters at public launches each year are  informed about the importance of properly decontaminating their gear before entering the Lake, and when leaving. The report also highlights a lack of change in phosphorus conditions across the Lake, and describes changes in the amount of phosphorus delivered to the lake each year. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

LGLC Purchases Wetlands in Putnam Above Lake George

The Lake George Lake George South from Record Hill Anthonys Nose courtesy Carl Heilman IIThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has acquired 65 acres in the Town of Putnam from Thomas and Christine Bain. The land contains wetlands and includes a significant part of the Sucker Brook marsh, which drains directly into Lake George at Glenburnie.

The acquisition is also expected to protect a large area of rare northern white cedar swamp. This habitat type is threatened statewide by development, habitat alteration, and recreational overuse, as well as invasive species, such as purple loosestrife and reedgrass. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 22, 2016

$7.4M for Adirondack Sewer and Water Projects

Sewer Pipes (courtesy NYS Governor's Office)Five Adirondack communities have received $7.4 million in grants on top of $13.16 million in loans to complete clean water programs to treat their wastewater and provide pure drinking water to their residents from the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA).

Counting the $2.5 million in funding for Willsboro and Saranac Lake in last year’s budget, the WIIA has brought nearly $10 million to Adirondack communities since it was created in 2015. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Adirondack Climate Change: Deluges In The Forecast

Tropical Storm Irene destroyed or damaged many buildings in Keene and other hamlets in 2011.Photo by Nancie BattagliaA few years ago, Paul Smith’s College scientist Curt Stager came across a rare find that he says helps tell the story of climate change in the Adirondacks: the journal of Bob Simon, a retired engineer and longtime resident of Cranberry Lake.

Simon, who died in 1991, kept a meticulous journal with entries for temperature, wind direction, barometric pressure, water level, ice cover, when loons arrived, and when thunderstorms occurred. He made entries twice a day, morning and night, for the last thirty-two years of his life. Stager received the journal from someone who found it in Simon’s former home, years after the man died. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Lake Pleasant Green Infrastructure Demonstration Projects

This rain garden is a landscaped depression that captures and absorbs stormwater from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s driveway and roof. My coworkers and I completed the installation of green infrastructure demonstration projects at the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District office in Lake Pleasant including a rain garden, a bioswale and two rain barrels.

Local homeowners and municipalities have the opportunity to see the benefits of stormwater pollution prevention practices. The projects are designed to protect and preserve water quality as essential aspects of public health, a vibrant local economy and a flourishing ecosystem. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Peter Bauer: In Lake George Election, The Lake Won

The election last night in Lake George was a referendum on protecting the lake and the lake won. Last night, the team that was swept into office in 2011 on a platform of real change in town government built around protection of Lake George was handily re-elected.

Dennis Dickinson won as Supervisor and Marisa Muratori and Dan Hurley won for the Town Board. Dickinson and Muratori narrowly lost the Republican primary in September, but were elected on the Reform Party line. This is the second time that Muratori has been elected on a third party line. Hurley was elected as a Democrat. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cyanobacteria: A Primordial Lake Monster

TOS_Blue_Green_AlgaeIt came from the lake. It is a life form nearly as old as life itself. Living peacefully in the depths for eons, it is awakened by humankind’s abuse of the environment. It strikes out with toxins that attack nerves or the liver. Attempts to kill it only make it more toxic.

It sounds like the plot of a 1950s horror movie. But this horror plays out in lakes and ponds across New York, Vermont and New Hampshire on hot, sunny days each summer. This year, a September heat wave extended the season of blue-green algae blooms past Labor Day at Lake Champlain. In the second week of September there were blooms in Missisquoi Bay, a northern, shallow bay of Lake Champlain, and St. Albans Bay, another lake trouble spot. This summer blooms, or suspected blooms, were also reported in Lake Placid, Schroon Lake, Friends Lake. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Model Culvert Being Installed In Wilmington

Ausable River Culvert ReplacementA new kind of culvert is being installed on an Ausable River tributary in Wilmington. The project is part of a initiative led by the Ausable River Association (AsRA) and the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (the Conservancy) to improve stream connectivity, fish habitat, and community flood resilience in the Ausable watershed by replacing road-stream crossings with designs engineered to allow for natural stream pattern and flow. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Silver Bay YMCA First To Seek LID Certification

Lake George from Silver bayThe leaders of Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George are the first to seek LID certification from the Lake George Waterkeeper.

LID is an acronym for Low Impact Development, and the projects that disturb landscapes the least and leave the lake’s water quality undiminished will be LID certified – much as green buildings are LEED certified. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Lake Friendly Living Workshops Planned For Schroon Lake

IMG_0176The Warren and Essex County Soil and Water Conservation Districts are holding two workshops in Schroon Lake to educate about lake friendly living.

As stormwater moves across impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and asphalt parking area it can collect sediment, phosphorous, de-icing materials (sand and salt), petrochemicals, and other pollutants that may end up in a nearby lake or stream. There are ways to reduce storm water runoff and keep our water bodies healthy. One way is by collecting storm water in rain barrels and using it to water gardens and landscapes. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Impact of Stormwater on Adirondack Streams

Roaring Brook Falls 2014 by John WarrenIn peaceful streams, aquatic macroinvertebrates such as crayfish, stoneflies, and caddisflies travel over and under submerged rocks, foraging for other invertebrates, leaves, and algae. When rain falls, their world turns upside down. At first only the surface is disturbed, but before long, runoff reaches the stream and increases its flow many fold. Silt and sand blast every exposed rock surface. At peak flow, boulders are propelled downstream by powerful currents.

How do small creatures survive such crushing chaos? They hunker down. Water-filled nooks and crannies extend deep below streambeds and far beyond river banks. These deep interstices provide a safe haven even while turbulent water pulverizes the riverbed, comparable to a storm cellar in a tornado. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Willie Janeway: NYS Budget Adirondack Impacts

nycapitolNegotiations over the NYS budget for fiscal year 2015-16 were messy and dominated by arguments over ethics reforms and education funding, but the final plan contained much-needed investments in clean water, wilderness, wildlife and communities of the Adirondack Park.

Foremost is a three-year, $200-million capital program to repair wastewater treatment and drinking water facilities. Under the program, the state would set aside $50 million this year and $75 million in each of the next two fiscal years to pay for matching grants to communities for up to 60 percent of upgrades for local drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fund: Lake George Salt Levels Can Be Cut 40%

Snowplow (Lake George Mirror file photo)The salt in Lake George would decrease by 40% over a ten-year period if highway departments reduce its use now, by half, says Dr. Jeff Short, a science advisor to The Fund for Lake George.

“Any actions we take will be apparent almost immediately,” said Short.  “If we cap loading now and then dial down, the results will be clear. So the incentive for taking action is huge.”

The Fund for Lake George is crafting a strategy to achieve that goal, said Eric Siy, The Fund’s executive director. » Continue Reading.



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