September 24, 2014
The establishment of North Queensbury Disposal District No. 1, approved Monday evening by the Town Board, is hoped to be the first of several like it in the Lake George Watershed, according to Dave Decker, executive director of the Lake George Watershed Coalition.
Grant funding and wastewater management strategies will now be available to approximately 70 landowners in the Dunham’s Bay area.
Comment, including 11 letters read in support of the its approval, was primarily supportive of the district’s creation. Those who spoke against the measure were opposed to the vote taking place after many summer residents had left for the season and the lack of firm bylaws and final financial impact to property owners.
The unsettled matters, explained Supervisor John Strough, would be worked out by the residents as part of the duties of an advisory committee.
The district will operate as an Responsible Management Entity, or RME, allowing it to apply for grant funding and bid for necessary work, such as septic tank pumping, inspections and other maintenance.
Ground water and bedrock pose challenges to creating adequate systems.
Decker presented information to the board and nearly 50 in attendance prior to the vote. Underwater photos of blue-green algae found in front of homes on the bay were shown. Nutrient loading from faulty sewer systems is suspected to contribute to the growth. Ground water and bedrock pose challenges to creating adequate systems. Many of the systems are too close to the shoreline.
Research leading to the formation of the district showed 21 percent of the sewer systems of Dunham’s Bay residents were adequate, while 14 percent were marginal or inadequate. The remaining 65 percent of systems had no records of installation or documentation of permits.
“What’s in the ground? Where is it located? That information simply is not there,” said Decker.
Advisory committees from other districts that may form could later help prioritize projects to assist with grant fund distribution.
Though no grants have been awarded, Decker said applications made in December and June looked promising.
Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, in a phone interview Tuesday, said the town is not looking to form a similar RME.
“Our position is that the town and village of Lake George have a Consolidated Board of Health,” he said.
Sewer regulations fall under the power of that board, he explained. They have sanitation ordinances and plans for remedial action if necessary. The board has the authority to, and already has, applied for grant funding.
Queensbury’s creation of the district can be challenged if a petition is brought forth forcing a referendum in the next 30 days. That scenario, said Dickinson, was something he didn’t want to see happen in Lake George.