In July 2010, Lake George Town employees discover an underground drain pipe, one of six under Battlefield Park that have been draining groundwater illegally into the town septic sewer mains. Old-timers speculate that the pipes were installed underneath the park decades ago by the state when they created the park, as the land was once swamp. Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said Aug. 12 that for decades, the state’s pipes have dumped both clean groundwater and sewage from their nearby Battleground campsites into the town’s sewer main, which is costing local taxpayers of the Caldwell Sewer District by boosting their costs of sewer treatment at the village sewer plant, which is billed on a volume basis to the District. He said the town would be making attempts to collect payment from the state for the costs of this sewage treatment and disposal.
For decades, the state of New York has been discharging water into town-owned sewer mains, and local municipal officials said this week they are going to charge them for the expense of sewer treatment — and assess fines if they don’t pay up.
This announcement by town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson touched on one of several water and sewer problems that the Lake George Town Board focused on during their Aug. 12 meeting.
Town Board member Dan Hurley said that a broken sewer pipe underneath state land — either Battlefield Park or the adjacent state campgrounds — was allowing groundwater to infiltrate and flow into the town’s sewer main. He said that engineers operating a remote camera in the sewer main observed that when it was raining, the camera would become submerged with water.
Dickinson noted this wastewater was pumped into the village sewer plant, and that the town residents had been needlessly paying for treatment of this water, at least since 1983. Dickinson added that the sewage from the state’s facilities — including rest rooms serving 58 campsites on Battleground Campgrounds, the Million Dollar Beach bathhouse rest rooms, and the Lake George Park Commission headquarters, were all flowing into the sewer main and this wastewater was being treated at the expense of Caldwell Sewer District residents’ expense.
Dickinson suggested that an estimate be prepared of the total of this wastewater flow, and the state be billed for it this year. He continued that he had discussed the issue with the town attorney. In the past, state officials have claimed the wastewater wasn't theirs.
The board also approved collecting $1,250 from Kubricky Construction to pay to remove of chunks of asphalt found in town sewer pipes — apparently waste resulting from Kubricky’s recent reconstruction of Beach Road.
Leak in Diamond Point water system suspected
Also, Dickinson pledged to investigate an apparent water leak in the Diamond Point water system. Hurley reported that 33,6500 gallons were now flowing through the system, which serves only 67 households or small businesses — a rate that Dickinson said was far too high to represent actual usage. Hurley suggested installing meters at various branches of the system to determine where the water was going.
Oil or gasoline slicks contaminating waters at local beach
In another matter, Dennis Dickinson said he was concerned about petroleum pollution of lakewater at Diamond Point beach, and that four incidences had recently been reported. He said that state Department of Environmental Conservation officials had been notified, and that they were investigating. Local resident Mike Segulic has reported for years about algae growth at the beach as well as ongoing pollution there. An email he circulated last weekend reported that the pollution reached a point that lifeguards had kept swimmers out of the water.
The board heard a report, however, that water samples were taken from Lake George at Diamond Point Beach and Usher Park beach, and they tested clean, with a lower fecal bacteria count than in recent years.
Legal action initiated against Salvadore
In other business, the town board:
• authorized legal action against John Salvador, a local landowner, to recoup logging-related damage to Shaw Road Extension. Dickinson said Salvador was now under a court order to pay the town $14,225, but had not yet done so. The board’s resolution instructs the town attorney to seek that sum plus fines, and attorneys’ fees. Salvadore, present at the meeting to comment on other issues, said he was unaware of any court order to pay the restitution.
• heard from board member Marisa Muratori that site work had been started at the new Price Chopper shopping plaza development just south of the Warrensburg town line off Northway Exit 23.
• was advised that a list was now being prepared of local residents to serve on a committee to develop revisions to the town comprehensive plan.
Festival for the Lake receives cash pledge
• approved providing $5,000 in local bed tax receipts to the Festival for the Lake weekend to occur Sept. 27 through Sept. 29. It was noted that St. James Episcopal Church’s annual car show would not be held next year due to the $3,500 or so in fees the church was now being charged by the village and county to hold their event in the beach road parking lot.
Amnesty Day for code violators?
• agreed to consider suggestions from councilwoman Fran Heinrich that an Amnesty Day be established in town, when people who have skirted town building and land use codes can inform the town about their violation and seek to get into compliance, but not face fines. She also asked for a day that people can bring refuse into the landfill for free. Dickinson said free dumping might be unmanageable, but a day of reduced-fees at the landfill might be feasible.
• heard from councilman Vinnie Crocitto that the town summer youth program, conducted at the local high school and lower recreation field, was popular, with 108 children participating.
Boaters accused of spreading invasive species
• listened to Supervisor Dickinson’s report that two boaters launching in Lake George — competitors in a recent bass tournament — were cited for introducing invasive species into Lake George. He said that evidence of milfoil and water chestnuts were found on their boats or trailers, after they’d launched at 4:30 a.m. or so, before the official start of the tourney.
He said this incidence was evidence that self-inspection and voluntary compliance isn’t enough to protect the lake from fast-growing species that can over time ruin water quality and recreation.
“This is my classic nightmare,” he said, noting that one of the boats had come from a waterway that hosts 150 different invasive species.