Posts Tagged ‘water quality’

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Money for infrastructure

Improving water infrastructure across the Adirondacks is key to protecting water health. Explorer file photo

Gov. Kathy Hochul in her State of the State policies promised $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding.

A book offering more details about the proposal, which will be fleshed out even more when Hochul presents her budget in the coming weeks, said she planned to establish “community assistance teams” to work with small municipalities on advancing projects.

Those teams “will provide proactive outreach to small, rural, and disadvantaged communities, and assist with accessing financial assistance to address their clean water infrastructure needs.” That assistance could be critical to many North Country communities, which often struggle to garner funding through key state water programs.

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Friday, December 9, 2022

Lake George residents get pumped for septic inspections

lake george

new septic inspection program around Lake George could commence as early as the spring, with just over 500 properties becoming the first to submit to a new requirement that septic systems in critical areas in the lake basin get inspected every five years.

The Lake George Park Commission, which has been developing the regulatory proposal for around 18 months, cleared its latest process hurdle with a public hearing the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. 

The comments were largely supportive of new septic inspection requirements, but some raised concerns about newer, better maintained systems being treated the same as old, malfunctioning ones.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

HABs plans

DEC scientist and section chief Lauren Townley presents an update on the state's HABs action plan at a Lake George Park Commission meeting in Bolton on Tuesday. Photo by Zachary Matson

Harmful algal blooms were first confirmed on Lake George in October 2020, suspected to have been spurred on by a warm, dry fall.

With Lake George residents and advocates keeping a careful eye on the lake, DEC scientist Lauren Townley (pictured here) updated the Lake George Park Commission on the state’s latest HABs action plan for Lake George, which was updated in August. She shared the update in Bolton at the Lake George Park Commission’s first in-person meeting since prior to the pandemic.

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Bond acts and water projects

The 1996 environmental bond act funded the purchase of Whitney Park and Little Tupper Lake. Explorer file photo by Jonathan Esper.

In my almost 11 months at the Explorer, I have done a lot of reporting on the Adirondack Park’s critical water infrastructure. Infrastructure that cleans water for drinking, protects lakes and streams from pollution, mitigates flooding and literally holds up much of the region’s watery landscapes.

A lot of that infrastructure is in dire need of repair or replacement and plays a part in water quality issues like salt pollution, harmful algal blooms and stream connectivity crucial to hedging against the threat of climate change. In March, I found around $500 million of clean water infrastructure needs listed for projects throughout the Adirondacks.

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Saturday, July 9, 2022

A Lake Placid plan

lake placid

proposed Lake Placid management plan focuses on studying boat traffic, mitigating the potential harm of outdated septic systems and preventing the introduction or expansion of invasive species.

The Adirondack Watershed Institute and the Ausable River Association on Tuesday released a draft management plan for the largest lake in Essex County and one of the most iconic lakes in the Adirondacks. The plan was commissioned by the Shore Owners’ Association of Lake Placid. They are seeking public comments through July 19.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Lake George Association Launches Bay-by-Bay Lake Protection Events

Lake GeorgeLAKE GEORGE – With the water quality threats facing Lake George varying in type and intensity at different points along its 32-mile length, the Lake George Association (LGA) is presenting a series of educational programs to help property owners understand what’s ailing the water quality in their neighborhood and what they can do to help. The LGA’s 2022 Bay-by-Bay Summer Event Series will kick off on Tuesday, June 14, and Wednesday, June 15 at Warner Bay in the town of Queensbury.

A walking tour will be held on June 14 beginning at 4 p.m. This one-hour tour will introduce the priority issues facing the Bay. Attendance is limited to 12 participants and registration is required. The starting location for the tour will be provided upon registration. On Wednesday, June 15, from 4-6 p.m. at the North Queensbury Fire House, the LGA will present a detailed presentation on the greatest threats facing Warner Bay and provide specific guidance on actions residential and commercial property owners can take on their properties as Lake Protectors to safeguard water quality.

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

This week’s water news

lake champlain

Lake Champlain straddles an international border, a state border and is the focus of scores of government agencies, scientific researchers and nonprofit organizations.

It’s a big lake with a lot happening, but there’s a government plan for that. 

The Lake Champlain Basin Program – a federal program established to guide and fund research, restoration and protection of the lake – on Friday released the latest 5-year update to its guiding plan.

The plan outlined continued threats like high phosphorus levels, harmful algae blooms (HABs), toxic substances and pathogens, and aquatic invasive species. It championed the more than $20 million in grants to more than 600 groups and individuals the program has made to reduce pollution, educate the public, and research the lake and its health.

The new iteration will increase the focus on climate change impacts in the basin and seek to engage a more diverse group of stakeholders.

There’s plenty more happening on the water beat this time of year.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Septic systems need funds to start fixes flowing

By David Miller, Adirondack Council Clean Water Program Coordinator

Failing septic systems are degrading pure waters in the Adirondack Park. Many of these waterbodies serve as drinking water supplies for the Park’s year-round and seasonal residents and visitors.

Thankfully, the New York State historic Clean Water Fund includes septic replacement grant funds for homeowners. Under this program, money is allocated in bulk amounts to counties that then provide grants to homeowners who have applied for them. Homeowners can receive up to $10,000 in these grants to help them pay for their septic system replacements, which typically range between $15,000 and $30,000. These grants make an enormous difference to residents in the rural counties by making septic improvements affordable.

There is a great need for this funding in the Adirondacks, but the question remains why so little of this money has actually made its way to the Park.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Celebrating fresh water

water in the southern ADKs

Happy World Water Day (on March 22). This United Nations observance day was established in 1993 to celebrate water and raise awareness of the 2 billion people across the world living without access to safe drinking water. This year’s theme is a focus on groundwater: “Making the invisible visible.”

The world relies almost entirely on groundwater for drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming and other uses, according to the UN. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report emphasized concerns about the future of drinking water as warming trends and human development accelerate threats to water supplies.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 28, 2022

Safe Aquatic Weed Control for Ponds

grass carp

If you have a weed problem in your pond, you may want to consider stocking it with Grass Carp.  These fish have a tremendous appetite for aquatic vegetation and can be used as a non-chemical agent to control weed growth in ponds.  The fish that are available for stocking are Triploid Grass Carp, which means they are sterile and cannot produce viable young.  This non-native species of fish does not compete with native fish species that you may already have swimming around in your pond.

            Because these fish are not native to New York and because they have huge appetites, a permit is required from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Herkimer County SWCD starts the permitting process now with stocking to take place in June 2022.  The permitting process conducted by DEC is free of charge. If permitted you will be able to purchase these fish from the Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District, an approved Triploid Grass Carp supplier.

            If you would be interested in more information, including a permit application for stocking Grass Carp, please contact the Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District at 315-866-2520, Ext. 5 before April 30thInformation is also available on our website at http://www.herkimercountyswcd.com.

Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Bolton uses woodchips to keep nitrates out of the lake

cat mountain in boltonThe results are in — and the Town of Bolton’s first-of-its-kind demonstration project using Adirondack woodchips to protect Lake George from algae-causing nitrate has proven successful.

A 27-month monitoring study conducted by the Lake George Association (LGA), Lake George Waterkeeper, and the Town of Bolton, with a grant from Lake Champlain Sea Grant, found that the town’s woodchip bioreactor removed 38% of nitrate from the wastewater that flowed through it during the project compared to zero removal of nitrate from the rest of the plant’s effluent stream. This is believed to be the world’s first use of a woodchip bioreactor at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The bioreactor was funded in 2018 by a $50,000 grant from The FUND for Lake George (now the LGA).

“Over the past two years, our study demonstrated conclusively that the woodchip bioreactor is an effective, affordable and environmentally compatible nitrate-reduction tool for smaller municipal treatment plants like Bolton’s that were constructed decades ago, prior to the advent of denitrification technology,” said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who conducted the study along with water quality scientist and LGA Science Advisor Dr. Jim Sutherland.

Read more about this world-leading project.

Read the full research report.

Watch a presentation about the project as part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Research Seminar Series.

Photo from Cat Mountain/Almanack archive


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Cleaner wastewater for Lake George

wastewater treatment

The village of Lake George is days away from turning on its new wastewater treatment plant – a major overhaul years in the making.

I visited the new facility (located in the same place as the old plant) last week and got a tour from plant operator Tim Shudt, who is nearing 10 years in the position. Construction is basically complete, but they are still working out some final details before the new plant can be switched on.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Successful year for Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District

water qualityThe Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District closes out 2021 with the release of their Annual Report.  The document details the District’s 2021 programs, projects, and events.

“The accomplishments listed in our 2021 Annual Report would not be possible without the steadfast support from our Board of Directors, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hamilton County, and local organizations and agencies” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart.  “Technicians Lenny Croote and Jaime Parslow, and Clerk Marj Remias provided expert and excellent service to landowners and municipalities year round.”

Highlights from the District’s Annual Report include:

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Monday, January 3, 2022

Ausable River Association Announces Salt Survey for Lake Placid

mirror lake

WILMINGTON — The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will distribute a salt use survey this winter to residents, businesses, and independent contractors in Lake Placid. Developed with our partners at the Adirondack Watershed Institute, the survey is essential to determining the amount of salt entering Mirror Lake and the Chubb River. Funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program through a multi-year technical grant, it’s another piece of our ongoing science-based effort to find a solution to road salt contamination in these waterways.

The salt survey is specific to residents and business in the Chubb River watershed. The watershed encompasses the area surrounding Lake Placid and includes the Village of Lake Placid. Completing the survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area that you care for in your winter maintenance.

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Hochul names road salt task force members

road salt truck

Overdue panel charged with preventing further pollution

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday named the members of a promised state task force charged with studying road salt use in the Adirondacks.

The 10 overdue appointees announced by the governor will join representatives from the state Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health and Adirondack Park Agency as they set out to review current salt use practices and make recommendations to minimize future use.

The governor’s direct nominees include former DEC Commissioner Joe Martens; Adirondack Watershed Institute Executive Director Dan Kelting; Megan Phillips, vice president of conservation at the Adirondack Council; and Kristine Stepeneck, a professor at the University of Vermont.

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